£3 Million from UK Helps Answer Supplies Shortfall in Palestinian Hospitals

The UK government today committed £3 million ($5.5m) towards Palestinian front-line health services as hospitals struggle to meet demand and the humanitarian crisis worsens.

The payment will help to ensure that hospitals and clinics can treat the sick and those injured in the conflict, by funding essential medical supplies, hospital food and specialist health services.

This is the UK’s first payment towards a new international funding mechanism, to help meet Palestinian basic needs. The Temporary International Mechanism (TIM) is channelling aid directly to the people rather than the Hamas-led government. This is needed because donors cannot fund the government until they give up violence, recognise Israel’s right to exist and sign up to previous peace agreements.

Announcing the funding, the UK International Development Secretary, Hilary Benn, expressed concern over the worsening humanitarian situation, and said the additional funds would go some way to alleviating the suffering of Palestinians.

Mr Benn said:

”As conflict and insecurity continues in the Palestinian Territories, the humanitarian impact is immense.

”With the number of casualties and sick, services like hospitals are ever more vital – but more under threat due to inadequate supplies of electricity and essential drugs. Without support, services will break down and suffering will increase. Meanwhile poor availability of food, water and sanitation is causing illness and disease.

”The UK stands ready to provide up to £12 million to support the Temporary International Mechanism to help Palestinians. Our initial contribution of £3 million will go directly to frontline health services. This will help to respond to these shortfalls and help clinics and hospitals to treat the sick.

”But while aid will make a vital difference to people’s livelihoods, as long as the conflict continues, the suffering will go on. We need a long term two state solution for Israel and the Palestinian people, which we continue to work towards.”

The UK stands ready to commit up to £12 million ($22 million) to the TIM plus its share of the European Community contribution, giving a total of up to £25 million. The first £3 million will be administered by the World Bank.

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Website: http://www.dfid.gov.uk/news/files/pressreleases/lebanon-further-relief.asp
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Name: Gemma Haxby