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Jenin: Amnesty Call For Humanitarian Assistance

Jenin Refugee Camp: Amnesty International Calls For Immediate International Humanitarian Assistance

17 April 2002

Speaking from inside Jenin Refugee Camp, Amnesty International delegate Javier Zuniga said, "This is one of the worst scenes of devastation I have ever witnessed. It is almost impossible to conceive that what was once a town is now a lunar landscape. There is a real possibility that people are still alive under the rubble of their former homes, one of our colleagues from a local human rights organisation received a phone call from a family of 10 trapped below ground and asking for help, yet there is no evidence of concerted efforts to search for and rescue survivors."

Amnesty International is calling for immediate and unimpeded access for humanitarian assistance wherever it is needed. "If this was an earthquake the international community would be asked for and give urgent help. It is shocking that the authorities have not asked for help and that the international community is not offering it. Let this be the wake up call that help is needed now to save what life there is left."

Another member of the Amnesty International Delegation Professor Derrick Pounder this morning gained access to the Jenin Government Hospital. Professor of Forensic Medicine at Dundee University, Professor Pounder is now conducting autopsies to clarify the cause of death of those bodies in the hospital. Scores more bodies are believed to remain in the refugee camp, mainly in the rubble of bulldozed houses.

Amnesty International had been denied access to the hospital but this was changed this morning. Access to the camp had also been denied but the check points were removed this morning allowing limited access.

Ends

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