Gaza on the brink of food crisis

Saleh Naami , Thursday 20 Jan 2011

The closure of Gaza's largest commercial crossing is leading to panic and a looming humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip as wheat stocks run out

family cook food in a house in the Shati refugee camp in Gaza City. (Photo: AP)

The Gaza Strip is facing a humanitarian crisis following the complete depletion of wheat stocks after Israel closed the Mantar commercial crossing, which had been the entry point for grain into the territory.   

Abdel Nasser Al-Ajrami, head of the union of bakery owners in Gaza, announced Thursday morning that the flour mills have stopped meaning that most bakeries aren’t working.

Significantly, the decision to close the crossing was agreed upon by the Ramallah government, lead by Salam Fayyad, and the Israeli army. The agreement also covered the running of the Karam Abu Salem crossing, located on the Egyptian-Palestinian-Israeli border.

Hamas decried the agreement by Fayyad’s government as “a crime and collusion” with Israel over the blockade of the Gaza Strip.  

Some streets in the Gaza strip witnessed traffic jams as people rushed to the bakeries that still had stocks of flour.

Economic experts view the dependence on the Karam Abu Salem crossing will lead to a dramatic shortage of food products that were allowed to enter in the wake of the “Freedom Flotilla” last summer.

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