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Gaza: Post-Withdrawal Food Stored For Palestinians

In Gaza, UN agency stores food for Palestinians affected by Israeli withdrawal

Anticipating possible logistic hurdles and uncertainty in connection with Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced today that it had stored food supplies there to sustain tens of thousands of impoverished Palestinians through the end of October.

“We decided to take these measures because we were concerned that we might be unable to reach the people we help in Gaza for a short period of time during and after the withdrawal due to curfews, road blocks and possible restrictions on the movement of aid workers,” WFP Country Director Arnold Vercken said.

The agency has pre-positioned 5,800 metric tons in 21 warehouses in the Gaza Strip, sufficient to feed the 156,000 Palestinians who benefit from WFP rations until the end of October. In addition, WFP has already provided all beneficiaries in the densely populated Strip with a two-month ration for July and August.

“In spite of the logistical difficulties that have increased with the Israeli disengagement, WFP, working with NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and the Palestinian Authority, has now secured enough food rations for the poorest Palestinians in Gaza,” Mr. Vercken said.

This week, Israel started withdrawing military forces and evacuating Jewish settlers from Gaza Strip. All the 8,500 people who have lived in 21 Israeli settlements established in Gaza after the area was captured in the 1967 war are to be relocated either to Israel or to the occupied West Bank.

Next month, WFP, which has been active in the Occupied Palestinian territory for the past 10 years, is launching a new two-year operation to provide nearly half a million Palestinians with food assistance. The operation will bring about 154,000 tons of food to Gaza Strip and the West Bank at a cost of $80 million.

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