Gaza braces for bitter winter

Mel Frykberg, The Electronic Intifada, 17 November 2009

EZBT ABBED RABBO, occupied Gaza Strip (IPS) - Tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza living in tents and damaged homes face a wet, cold and miserable winter as Israel's blockade of the coastal territory continues to prevent the importation of building and reconstruction material.

During the last few weeks Gazans were given a brief reprieve from the oncoming winter as an unseasonal snap of warmish, sunny weather held off winter rain and plummeting temperatures.

But, during a tour of northern Gaza last week, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, Maxwell Gaylard, and the Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA) called on Israel to open its border crossings immediately to avert a further deterioration in the humanitarian situation on the ground.

"With winter rains and cold weather now imminent, the people of Gaza are even more desperately in need of construction materials such as cement, roofing tiles and glass to build and repair homes destroyed and damaged during the Israeli military offensive of 2008/2009," said Gaylard.

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