Humanitarian pause in Gaza allows for emergency food aid distribution

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Palestinian families take shelter at an UNRWA school in Gaza City, after evacuating their homes in the northern Gaza Strip. Gaza City, July 13, 2014
© Shareef Sarhan/UNRWA Archives

Thousands of people affected by the escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip have been able to receive emergency food aid during a five-hour humanitarian truce, according to the World Food Programme.

The temporary cease-fire was brokered by the Secretary-General's Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry.

WFP took advantage of the pause in fighting to distribute food vouchers in areas where shops are functioning and move food stocks into position around the Strip.

The agency has transported wheat flour, bread and canned tuna from its warehouses ready for distribution to 85,000 people in the coming days as security conditions allow.

Pablo Recalde, WFP Country Director.

"I had the chance to actually drive with my colleagues at UNICEF and we actually entered Gaza and had the chance to see people able to get out of the … we actually managed to see the food distribution. We visited hospitals. We saw the rage of people to be under attack. But also we saw the impact of the assessment of the United Nations system in support of the people who actually are at the moment, under siege."  (30″)

The humanitarian pause allowed civilians in Gaza to resume daily routines and for repairs to start on essential electrical and water infrastructure.

In Israel, civilians have had a reprieve from rocket fire.

Meanwhile, the UN Chief welcomed the pause, noting that it showed a cessation of hostilities is possible "if all the parties demonstrate the necessary will and put the interests of civilians first."

Sophie Outhwaite, United Nations.

Duration:  1’46″


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