Monday, December 29, 2008

UN: "The situation is absolutely disastrous. Your viewers must realize... there's been a blockade, strangulation -- if you like -- of Gaza. "


"Israeli Military Launches More Air Strikes in Gaza"

Aired December 28, 2008 - 07:00 ET

CNN transcript on the Web at:

CNN: "...Joining us now from Jerusalem, Christopher Gunness, with the United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestinian Refugees.

"Sir, we appreciate your time. I mean, the situation for the Palestinians, you know, in any given day isn't that great -- humanitarian needs there day in and day out. Now, given what we've been seeing the past couple of days with these air strikes, tell us how dire is the situation for the Palestinians right now?

"The situation is absolutely disastrous. Your viewers must realize that for over a year and a half now, there's been a blockade, strangulation -- if you like -- of Gaza. So, we, as the largest humanitarian agency working on the ground in Gaza have been unable to get the sorts of medical supplies and other humanitarian aid in. So, long, long lists of drugs and other medical supplies which in the U.S. would be considered standard in any hospital, they are just not available in Gaza.

"So, when people have been turning up for treatment following this massive attack, they are simply being turned away. If you got things like shattered limbs, broken arms, broken legs, feet blown off, that kind of thing, you're simply not being seen. If you got very light injuries and you need bandages or aspirins, you'll get seen. If you are very severely, critically ill, you might get seen.

"Huge numbers of people are simply being turned away, which is why UNWRA in Gaza has opened 18 of its health centers in the hope that we can help relieve the burden on a health service which, quite frankly, is collapsing fast."