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de Brún in EU humanitarian Gaza visit

18 February, 2009

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún will travel to Gaza next week as part of a cross-party group of European MPs to see firsthand the humanitarian needs on the ground.

The delegation will travel to Israel and Palestine on Wednesday February 25th and will meet with Palestinian and Israeli politicians, the UN and humanitarian and human rights groups.

Speaking today Ms de Brún said:

"The humanitarian situation in Gaza is intolerable. Eighty eight per cent of the population require food aid, hospitals lack essential medical supplies, and thousands of tonnes of aid cannot be brought into Gaza as not enough trucks are being let in.

"The Israeli government policy of blockading Gaza and the recent huge military assault have resulted in the disaster we see today.

"The EU must act immediately to get aid on the ground and to those who most need it. It must also act against any attempt by Israel to prevent this happening. The Israeli authorities should end the blockade and open the border crossings.

"Soon I will travel with a cross-party group of MEPs to Gaza to see for myself the humanitarian needs on the ground. I will see with my own eyes the intense medical and humanitarian assistance needed and will be pushing for this aid to be deployed as quickly as possible and in sufficient amounts.

"I wish to take the British Broadcasting Corporation to task for their refusal to broadcast an appeal for emergency funds for Gaza by the Disasters Emergency Committee, an umbrella organisation for thirteen aid charities. It is still not too late to transmit this appeal and they should do so now." ENDS

Note to Editors

Ms de Brún will be available to speak to the media prior to the EU delegation leaving and throughout the humanitarian fact finding mission.

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