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Cablegate: Mggz01 - Israeli Gaza Incursion - Humanitarian

VZCZCXYZ0007
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHJM #2754/01 1801520
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 291520Z JUN 06
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3149
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC PRIORITY

UNCLAS JERUSALEM 002754

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

OPS -- PLEASE PASS TO SECRETARY'S PARTY; NEA FOR FRONT
OFFICE AND NEA/IPA; PRM FOR PDAS GREENE AND PRM/ANE; NSC
FOR ABRAMS/DORAN/LOGERFO; TREASURY FOR NUGENT/ADKINS;

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM EAID KWBG KPAL
SUBJECT: MGGZ01 - ISRAELI GAZA INCURSION - HUMANITARIAN
SITUATION


1. (SBU) Summary: According to USAID staff in Gaza, there
are no reports of critical food shortages, but Gazans are
stocking up on food supplies. Hospitals and clinics have
emergency supplies for 14 days. All crossings remain closed.
Diesel supplies are being quickly depleted, according to a
gas station owner. End summary.

Food
----

2. (SBU) Gazans are stocking up on basic commodities,
according to USAID Gaza field staff. Prices have risen: a 50
kilogram bag of sugar now sells for NIS 200 (USD 45), up from
NIS 155 (USD 35) June 27, and a 50 kilogram bag of wheat
flour now sells for NIS 120 (USD 27), up from NIS 80 (USD
18), June 27. The World Food Program (WFP) estimates that
Gaza wheat flour mills have a 24-day supply of wheat flour
available. According to World Health Organization (WHO)
Gaza-based representative Mahmud Daher, Gazan are stocking up
on food supplies based on how much they can afford. He had
no reports of depleted stocks of basic commodities in stores,
but he predicted that fava beans, a high-protein source,
would quickly run out due to over-consumption. Daher and
USAID Gaza-based field staff both confirmed that perishable
items that required refrigeration, like dairy products, are
beginning to spoil and supplies are dwindling. According to
the WFP, fisherman have not been able to fish since June 26,
and small bakeries that depend on electric ovens have had to
close.

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3. (SBU) Daher said that representatives from the United
Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the World Food
Program, and the International Committee of the Red Cross
(ICRC) met June 28 in Gaza to discuss food supplies. He said
representatives from the World Food Program (WFP) and UNRWA
concurred that there are no food shortages currently. UNRWA
is considering a one-time general food distribution (a
one-month basket) to all refugees (roughly two-thirds of the
population). WFP head of office Arnold Vercken told
EconChief June 27 that WFP had just finished its latest food
distribution, so WFP's current non-refugee beneficiaries in
Gaza have enough food for up to two months, but WFP is
looking to expand its beneficiary list by up to 180,000.
(Note: WFP is concerned, however, about losing access to its
warehouse, with 900 metric tons of stocks, in the Gaza
Industrial Estate adjacent to Karni/al-Mintar, should IDF
forces occupy that area. End note.)

4. (SBU) Daher said that the UN agencies are trying to
predict how many newly-displaced families would need
assistance. He had received reports from the southeast of
Rafah that an undetermined number of Palestinian families
fled prior to the IDF incursion. ICRC said it was preparing
Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) kits for these families
that contained a small tent, cutlery, small gas burner,
blankets, cots, and hygiene supplies.

Health
------

5. (SBU) USAID Gaza-based staff also reported that all
public and private hospitals and clinics in Gaza have
declared a state of emergency. All public hospitals and
primary healthcare clinics have supplies for at least a
14-day emergency; however, there were unconfirmed rumors June
29 of a shortage of medical oxygen at hospitals. The USAID
EMAP III project delivered June 27 emergency kits of
pharmaceuticals and medical supplies to NGO clinics in three
different areas of Gaza: north and south Gaza and Khan Younis.

6. (SBU) Acting UNRWA Gaza Field Director told Amman-based
REFCOORD June 29 that six senior-level Palestinian UNRWA
staff members are stuck on the Egyptian-side of the Rafah
crossing and are unable to enter Gaza, including the Field
Chiefs of Relief and Health, and the only cardiologist in
Gaza. All crossings into Gaza remained closed June 28 and
29.

Water
-----

7. (SBU) Existing stocks of liquid chlorine used in water
treatment are predicted to last about four weeks, USAID
Gaza-based field staff reported. 40 cubic meters of chlorine
have been allocated to the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA)
and an additional 15 cubic meters to hospitals and UNRWA.

UNRWA officials told REFCOORD that they have a limited
ability to provide diesel for water well pumps. UNRWA's
reserve fuel stocks are estimated at 100,000 liters. The
governorate of Khan Younis asked UNRWA June 28 for fuel in
order to operate its 25 wells, which consume 5,000 liters of
fuel daily.

Fuel
----

8. (SBU) Cooking gas is unavailable in Gaza, according to
Gaza gas station owner Abu Hisham al-Khozendar. USAID Gaza
field staff reported a high level of diesel sales due to
increased use of generators. They estimated that supplies
would run out in two days, given that people are stocking up.
Al-Khozendar told EconSpecialist June 29 that Israeli fuel
deliveries to Gaza have ceased at Nahal Oz. According to the
Financial and Commercial Manager of the Gaza Power Plant June
29, the plant currently has six million liters of industrial
diesel which could be used for large generators. (Note:
There are seven main retail fuel stations in Gaza, which sell
80-90 percent of all non-industrial diesel. Normal diesel
consumption is 500,000 liters per day and stations have a
storage capacity of 5 million liters, a ten-day supply
normally. On June 27, these stations were at about half
capacity. End Note.) USAID Gaza-based field staff also
received reports that companies are removing equipment from
gas stations, because they are afraid of damage during
Israeli military operations. Generator sales continue to be
brisk, according to both al-Khozendar and USAID Gaza-based
field staff.
WALLES

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