The Australian Government will provide a further $10 million in urgent humanitarian assistance for Gaza. The assistance will be delivered through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The funding is in addition to the $5 million provided to UNRWA and NGOs which I announced last week, and to Australia’s existing commitment of $56.5 million for development assistance to the Palestinian Territories in 2014-15.

The humanitarian situation in Gaza is serious and requires urgent international attention. Around 490,000 people have had to leave their homes, many buildings have been severely damaged, and water, sanitation, power and health services are barely functioning and unable to meet urgent needs. Over 9,000 Palestinians are in need of medical assistance. The UN has warned that Gaza is on the brink of a public health crisis and has launched a Gaza Crisis Appeal.

Of the new assistance, $7 million will be provided to UNRWA to help it continue to provide shelter, food, water and sanitation and essential items to the displaced population. Priority will be given to women and children, particularly health care for pregnant women, protection for women and children in over-crowded shelters, psycho-social care for children and youth, and education on the dangers of unexploded munitions.

ICRC will also receive $3 million to bolster emergency health services in Gaza. Working through the Palestinian Red Crescent Society and its local branches, ICRC is helping to keep hospitals and clinics operating, assisting in restoring damaged health facilities and bringing in specialist medical help where it is most needed.

The Australian Government continues to call for an end to the conflict and for there to be a negotiated two-state solution that allows the Israeli and Palestinian peoples to live in peace and security within internationally recognised borders.

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