Clearing unexploded ordnance in Gaza could take 14 years

На обезвреживание неразорвавшихся боеприпасов в Газе может уйти 14 лет

UN staff assess damage to medical facilities in Gaza. Clearing unexploded ordnance in Gaza could take 14 years Peace and security

It could take 14 years to secure Gaza from unexploded bombs, the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) said on Friday. Many of these shells are found under rubble or deep underground.

“All I can say is that at least 10 percent of the projectiles launched do not explode,” UNMAS specialist Per Lodhammar told a press briefing in Geneva on Friday.

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It is impossible to determine the exact number of unexploded ordnance in the enclave, he said. For every square meter in the sector there are about 200 kilograms of crushed stone, he told reporters. Clearing the rubble will take a very long time, Lodhammar added.

Call for the release of hostages

The day before, the leaders of 18 countries, including the United States, called for the release of all remaining hostages taken during the Hamas attack on Israel, which killed about 1,250 people.

Israeli authorities say more than 130 hostages still held in Gaza.

Israeli bombing, which began in response to the Oct. 7 attacks, has killed more than 34,350 Palestinians and injured more than 77,360, according to Gaza health authorities.

Threat of famine

UN humanitarian workers again warn of widespread famine in the northern Gaza Strip and call for increased humanitarian aid supplies to the enclave.

Three weeks ago, Israel promised to improve conditions for the delivery of aid through the Erez checkpoint and the port of Ashdod. The UN World Food Program (WFP) said there had been a slight increase in aid but it was still not enough.

“We have not seen the paradigm shift that is needed to prevent famine: we need more volume, more predictability and a sustained effort to get more diverse aid to the north,” said Karl Skau, deputy executive director of the UN World Food Program (WFP).

Skau reminded of the possible invasion of Rafah, which could create additional obstacles to humanitarian efforts.

Speaking of efforts to create a sea corridor for the delivery of aid, a WFP representative emphasized that nothing can replace land supplies.

Humanitarian Flotilla

UN human rights experts have asked Israel to ensure the safe passage of a flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian aid. The Freedom Flotilla, with 5,500 tons of aid on board, is preparing to sail from Turkey to Gaza. She will be accompanied by international observers.

“When the Freedom Flotilla approaches Palestinian territorial waters off the coast of Gaza, Israel will have to adhere to international law, including recent orders of the International Court of Justice to ensure unhindered access for humanitarian assistance,” said the experts, who include the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Michael Fakhri.

Human rights activists noted that in 2010, Israel intercepted and attacked civilian vessels of the Freedom Flotilla in international waters, killing 10 passengers and injuring many others. At the time, they were trying to break the Israeli blockade to deliver humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza.


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