The international community must not forget about the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza as they turn their attentions to the escalating conflict between Israel and the militant group Hizbollah, states an Editorial in this week's issue of The Lancet.
In February, 2006, the situation in Gaza deteriorated rapidly when major international donors cut direct aid in protest at the newly elected Hamas leadership of the Palestinian Authority. The transfer of taxes from Israel, comprising 50% of the Authority's budget, was also halted. The suspension has led to many problems, including increases in malnutrition--from which 70% of the population is at risk--and mental-health problems. Immunisation programmes and communicable-disease surveillance are also at risk of being scaled down without the funding, states the Editorial.
The Lancet comments: "…despite a recent agreement by international donors to resume funding, the situation remains perilous. It is understandable and inevitable that this conflict will keep international eyes focused on Lebanon and Israel. But Gaza's residents will continue to suffer if international pressure to solve current aid blockages is not maintained."
EMBARGO: 00:01H (London time) Friday July 28, 2006. In North America the embargo lifts at 18:30H ET Thursday July 27, 2006.
This week's World Report focuses on the deteriorating health situation in Gaza.
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