Bombing severely reduces Oxfam's aid programme in Gaza as humanitarian crisis looms

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The people of the Gaza Strip are facing a humanitarian crisis unless the bombing stops and the Israelis allow immediate access for aid shipments, international aid agency Oxfam warned today.

The bombing has caused severe damage to the civilian infrastructure in Gaza with many areas being left without water or electricity. In particular the number of causalities has completely overwhelmed the already severely limited health services in Gaza. All hospitals are reporting being out of critical supplies and the basic supplies they do have are running out fast.

Oxfam has already been forced to temporarily suspend most of its humanitarian work in Gaza because of the bombing, and a programme which will feed 25,000 people has also been put on hold. Oxfam's local health partners are actively helping people injured in the current bombing.

John Prideaux-Brune, Oxfam Great Britain's country programme manager in Jerusalem, said:

"Hundreds of thousands of people in Gaza depend on Oxfam and other international aid agencies for the basics of life – clean water, food and sanitation. Gaza has been shut off from the outside world for 19 months and people there are already on the edge. There's a real risk of a humanitarian crisis unless the bombing stops now.

"The international community must not stand aside and allow Israeli leaders to commit massive and disproportionate violence against Gazan civilians in violation of international law. Oxfam condemns outright Hamas' rocket attacks on Israeli civilians. However they cannot justify this overwhelming military response which is killing innocent civilians.

"World leaders must take all necessary actions to stop attacks by all parties and must push the Israelis to continuously open all crossing points into Gaza."