Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Gaza – level of destruction unimaginable

26 February, 2009 - by Martina Anderson MEP

Sinn Fein MEP Bairbre de Brun speaking from Gaza has said that the level of destruction is unimaginable and that almost the entire economic and social infrastructure of the area has been destroyed.

Ms de Brun is in Palestine as part of a European Parliament delegation of MEPs looking at the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Speaking from Gaza Ms de Brun said:

"The level of destruction is unimaginable. Homes and entire communities have been devastated. The social and economic infrastructure has been almost totally destroyed. Hospitals and health clinics have been attacked and badly damaged.

"In one area we visited this morning 250 homes had been turned into rubble. We also visited the Atta Abu Jubba company which is the biggest factory in Gaza and the only cement factory supplying all of Palestine and it had been destroyed meaning that the rebuilding that is needed will be much more difficult.

"Everywhere you turn there is rubble where once there had been a living community and it is clear that this has not happened by accident. People are left bereft of basic amenities and their livelihoods stripped away and they have no sense of security or safety. These are very able and capable people who could rebuild their lives if the right conditions where in place.

"There is a very deep frustration and anger on the ground at the lack of accountability, that no-one has been held to account for what has happened.

John Ging, Director of UNRWA operations in Gaza, summed the situation up this morning when he said to us that 'it is not about being pro or anti-Israeli but about being pro basic, fundamental humanity built around the rule of law'.

"It is essential that the necessary emergency aid is delivered without delay to people but that in itself is no guarantee that the humanitarian crisis will be addressed. The key to relieving suffering is the opening of the border crossings. We need to see the free movement of people and goods into Gaza.

"I know that across the world people are moved by the plight of people in Gaza but sadly this willingness to help will be undermined unless there is an end to the siege. The international community needs to ensure that the siege is lifted.

"People who we spoke to today in Gaza need to know that the international community is committed to a peaceful future, that the steps needed to underpin reconstruction are taken and that there will be proper mechanisms of accountability." ENDS

Note to Editors

Bairbre de Brun is available to speak to the media.

Today she also met with John Ging who is in charge of the UNRWA operation in Gaza, with members of Civil society and with families in the rubble of their homes.

Yesterday the EU delegation also met with Palestinian Prime Minister Falam Fayyad.

Connect with Sinn Féin