With the people of the Gaza Strip beginning their third year of living under siege, a representative of the US Agency for International Development told the Palestinian news agency Ma'an on Thursday that the siege impedes investment and makes the development of the Palestinian economy impossible. Â At the same time, the British Department for International Development has warned that the situation is"extremely serious and that there are significant risks to public health."
British minister Baroness Crawley stated, "Due to fuel shortages, 60 million litres of raw and partially treated sewage flow into the Mediterranean each day and 90 per cent of mains water is polluted. Hospitals have between one and five days of fuel supply remaining", adding, "Electricity cuts and low supplies of fuel for generators mean that hospitals are at risk of being unable to keep essential equipment running such as refrigeration for vaccines".
This week's report follows an earlier warning in March in which the British agency stated that the Israeli siege of the Gaza Strip had caused the "worst humanitarian crisis since its occupation began."
For USAID, an organization that has been working in the Gaza Strip providing humanitarian aid, the organization's regional director Dr Howard Sumka stated, "I think it will be very hard for significant amounts of business to be done with Gaza as long as the closure regime is in place. Every donor and every private business person has had a problem getting the raw material they need into Gaza and getting the finished product out. We've experienced it. The World Bank has experienced it and others as well. Under the current circumstances it's not a bright future for Gaza, not immediately anyway."