World should not forget about the security of the people of Gaza

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Filippo Grandi

The international community should not forget about the security of the people of Gaza according to the outgoing head of the UN agency that supports Palestinian refugees.

Filippo Grandi, the commissioner-general of UNRWA, said Israel and Egypt had legitimate security concerns but that the problems facing the 1.7 million Palestinians there remained.

For the last decade, the socio-economic situation in Gaza has been in steady decline.

A blockade, imposed following the Hamas takeover of the coastal strip in 2007, has badly affected people's lives.

Mr Grandi urged Egypt to open its Rafah border crossing with Gaza, as one way of easing pressure on Palestinians living there.

"It's been almost seven weeks now that Rafah has been closed to the passage of people only a few pilgrims have been able to use Rafah. I make a very strong appeal to the Egyptian government to fulfil its obligation to allow people to cross Rafah. In full respect for their concern for security, this can be handle, the people of Gaza should not be kept in this small land without possibility of moving."

Years of conflict have left 80 per cent of the population dependent on international assistance.

Daniel Dickinson, United Nations.

Duration: 1’21″

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