UK pledges £1.25m in new aid to Gaza

Alan Duncan in Gaza (Photo: UNRWA/Shareef Sarhan)

Alan Duncan in Gaza (Photo: UNRWA/Shareef Sarhan)

The British government has pledged substantial new aid provisions for Gaza in the wake of last month's fighting between Israel and Hamas.

The £1.25 million in aid, which will be delivered with the help of the International Committee for the Red Cross, will include medical support and supplies, along with materials to rebuild homes damaged in the recent fighting, fuel for Gaza's power station and emergency repairs for the Gaza water authority.

International Development Minister Alan Duncan, who is visiting the area today, spoke of how ordinary people in both Israel and Gaza has "had their lives turned upside down".

While the violence continued, existing UK funding helped trusted partners such as UNRWA and the World Food Programme provide health and education services and distribute food in the face of incredibly challenging conditions.

"This new funding will help meet the most immediate needs of those injured, made homeless or otherwise affected by the conflict."

Mr Duncan also urged Gazans to tackle "weapons smuggling and the illicit tunnel economy" while calling on Israel to lift restrictions on the Gaza Strip, which he said made "the economic and humanitarian situation in Gaza unsustainable".

The new funding comes on top of the £20 million that the government has previously made available to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for its work in Gaza.

Last updated: 3:06pm, December 11 2012