Conflict has worsened Gaza’s food shortages: UN agency

January 30th, 2009 - 10:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Rome, Jan 30 (DPA) The recent conflict in the Gaza Strip has badly damaged the territory’s agriculture sector exacerbating food shortages, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said Friday.”Almost all of Gaza’s 13,000 families who depend on farming, herding and fishing have suffered damage to their assets during the recent conflict and many farms have been completely destroyed,” the Rome-based FAO said in a statement.

Some 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed in 22 days of Israel’s military offensive against Islamist Hamas militants operating in the enclave.

“People in Gaza are now facing an acute shortage of nutritious, locally-produced and affordable food. Meat and animal protein is generally unavailable,” FAO noted.

Food supplies were already running low in Gaza due to the closing of its borders in the 18 months prior to the Israeli military offensive, FAO said.

FAO said it will “soon” resume its project activities in Gaza and has already started planning emergency aid packages, including seeds, seedlings, fertilisers, feed and veterinary kits, to kick-start plant, livestock, aquaculture and household food production for the coming Spring season.

Aid interventions will also focus on repairing damaged greenhouses, animal sheds, irrigation networks and water wells, FAO said.

The UN agency said it will need around $6.5 million for such immediate activities, which aim to benefit around 27,500 people.

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