Irregular updates


This site is currently not being maintained.

We will publish irregular updates whenever we can, and the site will be relaunched with long-term data on ongoing imports and exports concerning Gaza soon.

In the meantime, we thank you for your support.

Weekly update 26 March


With full acknowledgments to the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Centre:


The crossings between Israel and the Gaza Strip 

During the past week humanitarian aid continued flowing through the crossings between Israel and the Gaza Strip, with an average of more than 100 trucks a day.

The Rafah crossing

On March 18 the Rafah crossing opened for the passage of Palestinians to and from the Gaza Strip and Egypt . Hamas was angry that Egypt had not coordinated the opening with it or sent an official announcement. According to Hamas, the Egyptians allowed Palestinians who organized their passage with the Palestinian Authority to use the crossing at the expense of “civilians who have to pass through.” However, on March 18 Hamas issued a statement to the effect that the crossing's opening would be coordinated with the Egyptians (Hamas interior ministry website, March 18, 2009 ).

On March 21 the Rafah crossing closed. A senior Egyptian official said anonymously that it would be closed for an unlimited period of time and that only patients and Palestinians with humanitarian problems would use it. During the three days it was open about 800 Palestinians entered the Gaza Strip and 200 left for Egypt (Reuters, March 21, 2009 ).

Covert Transfer of Money by Hamas into the Gaza Strip

On March 17 the Egyptian security forces at the Rafah crossing detained two Hamas activists found carrying $850,000 hidden in candy boxes . The two, Muhammad Jneida and Ahmed Hajaj, were returning from Egypt participating in the internal Palestinian dialogue. Eventually they were released and the money was impounded by the Egyptians. The delegation, which was on its way home to the Gaza Strip, also smuggled in a generator and night-vision equipment (AP, March 17, 2009 ).

Note : On February 5, 2009 , the Hamas delegation on its way back to the Gaza Strip after talks in Cairo was also delayed and searched by the Egyptian security forces. In the possession of senior Hamas figure Ayman Taha $9 million and two million euros in cash were found . The money was deposited in a bank account in Egypt and Ayman Taha was released. After a number of weeks Egypt authorized the transfer of the funds to the Gaza Strip.

Hamas to UNRWA: We Control the Gaza Strip

A visit paid by the secretary general of the Islamic Committee to the Gaza Strip was arranged with UNRWA and not with Hamas, and provoked Hamas's anger. Following the incident Mustafa al-Soaf, editor of Felesteen , the Hamas daily newspaper, wrote an article called “ The agency (UNRWA) – between assistance and politics .” Its main points were the following ( Felesteen , March 18, 2009 ):

Apparently, according to the article, UNRWA has forgotten that its real mandate is to help the refugees and instead has begun to act as a government within a government. UNRWA has been encouraged to do so by the [international] quartet. The time has come for the Hamas government to show UNRWA what its limits are, and instruct the organization to focus on fulfilling its original function.

UNRWA interprets the leeway given it by the Hamas government as weakness, or as a sign that the Hamas government is afraid of the UN. However, that is not the case, proof of which is that the government enables visitors to enter the Gaza Strip and is responsible for their safety, including the safety of UNRWA.

Hamas examined the complaints against UNRWA, according to which it and other aid organizations discriminate in the distribution of aid by giving preferential treatment to certain sectors. That means that UNRWA, on which people depend for humanitarian assistance, does not fulfill its role and infringes on the Gazans' rights. UNRWA does not own the aid which reaches the Gaza Strip but is only the liaison between the donors and the needy.

Since Operation Cast Lead there have been reports to the effect that Hamas channels civilian aid to its own people, or to groups affiliated with it, while depriving its opponents and preventing them from receiving assistance. The article in Felesteen is an attempt to divert fire toward UNRWA while making it clear that Hamas is in control of the Gaza Strip, and that UNRWA's job is limited to humanitarian aid, nothing more. 

The Tunnel Industry

The media reported that the Egyptian security forces continue their activities to prevent smuggling under the Egypt-Gaza Strip border. On March 20 a cache of weapons was discovered in the Rafah region, including half a ton of TNT, a number of rockets and automatic weapons (Ilaf website, March 20, 2009 ). On March 19 the security forces uncovered two tunnels in which were food, drugs, spare parts and electrical equipment, all meant to be smuggled into the Gaza Strip (Middle East News Agency, March 19 or 20 not 10). On March 20 and 21 four additional tunnels were uncovered ( Al-Yawm Al-Sabaa , March 21). On March 23 the Al-Yawm Al-Sabaa website reported that Egypt had recently increased its forces in the tunnel region to cope with smuggling activity.


Aid totals since ceasefire (18.1.2009)


Since the unilateral ceasefire was announced 63,617 tons of aid have been delivered to Gaza and 4,823,300 litres of fuel for the Gaza power station and UNRWA.

Video displaying Israel's reconstruction of Gaza


A good video displaying Israeli work on infrastructure in Gaza.

Israel field clinic closes

According to IRIN reports the Israeli field hospital erected at the Erez has now shut, having treated only 5 people. An Israeli medical source told IRIN that the clinic’s closure a result of various factors, “Hamas disapproval of what they consider to be propaganda, the fear of Palestinians and the distance they need to travel to the crossing.”


Medical and Humanitarian exits maintained


Despite the escalation in security threats the opportunity for medical and humanitarian exits was maintained on the 27th January. Nevertheless, an internal Palestinian decision was made recently to not send any more medical exits for treatment in Israel.



Dual Nationals Evacuated


In the past week 232 dual national have been evacuated from Gaza at the request of their respective governments.


Denmark – 1

France – 4

Germany – 1

Canada – 9

Turkey – 10

Romania – 12

Austria – 11

Jordan – 9

Greece – 9

United States – 93

Philippines – 20

Australia – 4

Sri Lanka – 1

Norway – 43


This activity is expected to continue over the coming week.

COGAT update 16 January


Just as Katya Adler on the BBC reports that the borders have been ‘mostly closed’, COGAT releases details of the aid that’s entered Gaza over from the Israeli border crossings of Kerem Shalom, Karni and Nahal Oz over the past two days:


3790 tons of aid on 174 trucks (104 on 14/1; 69 on 15/1)

Of these:
95 from private-sector donations
39 from UNRWA
22 from Jordan
6 from the West Bank and Israeli Arab NGOs
6 from ICRC
1 from Mercy Corps
1 from WHO

108,000 litres of diesel transferred directly to the power station

And Nahal Oz is full – no more fuel can be transferred into Gaza until it’s picked up by the NGOs responsible for its distribution across Gaza


That takes the total aid transferred via Israeli crossings since 28/12 to

29,112 tons of aid on 1,202 trucks
1,436,350 litres of fuel

You can watch the aid going in live here.

New aid appeals announced this week


A number of international aid agencies have launched or renewed their calls for funding in the past few days:

·         WHO’s Operational Plan calls for $13m for urgent medical needs

·         OCHA oPt’s Consolidated Appeal has been uprated from $462m to $529m for emergency and ongoing support

·         PAMA, the Palestinian Monetary Authority, calls for $62.9m to pay civil salaries and supplier invoices

·         OCHA, UNRWA, WHO and WFP note the following as the most urgent needs: protection for civilians and aid workers, access (sustained re-opening of borders), electricity/fuel, wheat grain for bread, and cash.


So far OCHA estimates they have $73m of the $529m they now need – please donate to the UNRWA’s Flash Appeal.

Lots of info from OCHA

OCHA’s field update has the following information to tell us about the 12th and 13th January deliveries:

·         12 Jan – Karni open – 27 trucks (part of 3129 tons). Oops, ignore what we said earlier about it not being open since 27 Nov.

·         13 Jan – Kerem Shalom open - 94 trucks (2310 tons of aid) including 50 trucks for NGOs

·         13 Jan – Nahal Oz open - 200,000 litres of industrial fuel

·         13 Jan – Rafah open – 21 medical cases treated in Egypt

·         13 Jan – Rafah open – 10 trucks (c. 250 tons), 17 doctors, 7 ambulances into Gaza from Egypt

·         13 Jan – JHCC agrees to upgrade aid deliveries to 150 trucks per day

·         14 Jan – Nahal Oz, Karni closed, no data on Rafah, Kerem Shalom open


Plus, on food distribution:

·         One million fifty thousand (1,050,000) people continue to rely on UN food assistance, though insecurity is constraining people from accessing what food is available, both in shops and through food distribution points.

·         On 13 January UNRWA provided food parcels to 2,156 households and distributed flour to 2,276 people

·         WFP also distributed 61 metric tones of food to approximately 1,000 households in Gaza city through its partner, CHF International

·         Due to limited fuel and water resources, WFP is prioritizing distributions of ready-to-eat consumables.


And on medical evacuations:

·         As of 11 January, 70 patients were cleared for evacuation to Egypt through Rafah but remain in Gaza due to the slow flow of evacuations at the crossing (but see above for a chink of light)

·         Outstanding urgent medical needs include medical equipment for intensive care units and orthopaedic material


And on the water sanitation issue in Beit Lahiya:

·         … As of 13 January, UNRWA was unable to deliver fuel for pumps to the Beit Lahia Wastewater Treatment Plant to alleviate pressure at the treatment plant

·         … On 13 January, CMWU received four truckloads of spare parts form the Palestinian Water Authority in the West Bank to assist with repairs

Egypt's First Lady calls for an emergency coordination committee

OCHA reports that Egyptian First Lady – who is also the president of the Egyptialn Red Crescent – has proposed that Egypt form an aid coordination committee (possibly like Israel’s JHCC).

The Committee would have bases in Cairo and in Al Arish, with the objective helping to channel assistance to Gaza. It will include the Palestinian Red Crescent (PRCS), ERCS and UN agencies.

Frustration at aid workers growing on Israeli side too

COGAT reports that despite what they see as their best efforts, some of their hard work in facilitating safe corridors is going to waste. For instance, they note that a group from the Joint Humanitarian Coordination Centre share this story:

The JHCC visitors learned that often problems are caused due to lack of organization on the part of Palestinian contractors. For example, for three days the IDF suspended operations in order to enable an ICRC convoy to escort Palestinian technicians to repair the pump of the Beit Lahiya sewage facility. For the first two days the technicians didn't arrive and today when they did arrive they didn’t have the proper vehicles and implements to carry out the task. 

Free psychological counselling phone lines open for Gazans

IRIN reports that a large number of NGOs and aid agencies are opening phone lines for Gazan residents to call for free psychological support.

Sawa, a Ramallah-based Palestinian organisation, says their line is receiving 200-250 calls a day and their 14 staff are working around the clock.
Sawa’s number is +972 (0)2 58 222 11.

UNICEF, Shatil, CLEC and the WHO are also all operating phone lines for Gazans and southern Israelis.


COGAT: 4 hour daily ceasefire from today

From today, apparently, the 3 hour ceasefire will become a 4 hour ceasefire so that more aid can get through.

And in an update to last week’s in-depth report on the electricity situation:

·         Electricity grid has now been repaired

·         Power in Gaza is now at 74% (from 40% this time last week) – that means far fewer rolling blackouts. IDF credits ICRC and the Palestinian Energy Authority staff for helping them to coordinate the repairs


Karni conveyor is open today – expected to bring grain, food and other basic supplies in.

We think this is the first time Karni has opened for transfer of aid since November 27.

Nahal Oz fuel silos are open today – expected to fill up with fuel for infrastructure and public services                              

And Kerem Shalom is open today – expected to see another 100-plus trucks, twice that being provided before the corridor opened


More details as we get them.

Chris Gunness appeals for sand

Apparently the flames won’t go out at the UN using conventional fire extinguishers – so if anyone nearby has sand to douse the flames they would greatly appreciate assistance.

Now back to the aid

Qatar has just announced a massive $250m for Gaza rebuilding.

Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani called on Thursday for Arab countries to create a fund for Gaza's reconstruction following 20 days of Israeli shelling that has left much of the Gaza Strip in ruins.

Sheikh Hamad pledged his country would contribute 250 million dollars to the fund.

Qatar is the only Arab Gulf country to maintain commercial ties with Israel, while Egypt, Jordan and Mauritania are the only Arab countries that have diplomatic ties with the Jewish state.

Sheikh Hamad also suggested the creation of a "maritime bridge" to transfer humanitarian aid to the battered territory.

"We have not called a summit to prepare Arab armies for a war against Israel," Sheikh Hamad said in his address. "We are not dreaming," he added.

UN suspends operations in Gaza

No surprises there.

UN Secretary General and Israeli defence man Ehud Barak

From BBC live feed and now AP wire:
Secretary General: ‘Strong protest and outrage’ in firing on HQ
Ehud Barak: ‘[Israel made] a grave mistake’

2 journalists in the building also wounded in the shelling.

Next steps: what happens after Gaza?

Haaretz this morning runs an article about what Israel is planning to do once the offensive finishes.

They mention, amongst the expected and inevitable flood of information, that Herzog – the Israeli government’s newly-appointed shuttle diplomat – is already up and running in liaising with governments and NGOs to build bridges and forge alliances:


Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has appointed Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog as government coordinator between Israeli and Palestinian aid agencies.


Wednesday, Herzog convened the first meeting in his new capacity with representatives of the Foreign Ministry, other government ministries and the IDF. Today he will meet with the secretary general of the UN, Ban Ki-moon, and the head of the International Red Cross, to hear their requests on humanitarian issues.


Plus – a drop-in at the end – the Palestinian Health Authority has granted tentative approval for upping the number of Gaza casualties being treated in Israel. Hopefully we’ll see positive stats on this very soon.

UN HQ in Gaza hit by fire

AFP and BBC are reporting that the UN HQ in Gaza has been hit 3 times and is on fire. Chris Gunness says a number of recently-received aid truckloads within the building have been lost. More soon.

PM Olmert appoints Minister Herzog to coordinate aid to Gaza



In an effort to increase humanitarian efforts in Gaza PM Olmert nominated yesterday the Minister for Welfare and Social Services Isaac Herzog for the role of coordinating Israel’s aid to Gaza. Minister Herzog will liaise between government institutions and international organisations to manage the humanitarian issue.

Please bear with us

Frustratingly, we’ve been having some problems since the 9th January posting to the blog. We’ll update and fill in the missing details as soon as we can.

Rest assured that behind the headlines there is some good news including:

And from COGAT's updates:

  • 2,310 tons of aid transferred on 13/1/09
  • 3,129 tons of aid transferred on 12/1/09
  • 3,339 tons of aid transferred on 10/1/09 and 11/1/09

We'll update with full details as soon as we can. Comment if you need specific information!

Live feed from Kerem Shalom crossing


We’ll try to keep this on top somehow – watch the convoys of aid and all the goings-on at the Kerem Shalom crossing from your desktop.

The left-hand camera is on the Gaza side; the right-hand camera is on the Israel side.

Here's a capture of the Gaza camera at the moment (12:55 Gaza time): empty trucks ready to pick up aid.

For useful reference, there’s also a useful map on the OCHA oPt website which shows the location of all the crossings.

UN Security Council resolution 1860


The UN is fully committed to aid to Gaza. Good:

2.   Calls for the unimpeded provision and distribution throughout Gaza of humanitarian assistance, including of food, fuel and medical treatment;

3.   Welcomes the initiatives aimed at creating and opening humanitarian corridors and other mechanisms for the sustained delivery of humanitarian aid;

4.   Calls on Member States to support international efforts to alleviate the humanitarian and economic situation in Gaza, including through urgently needed additional contributions to UNRWA and through the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee



BBC: ICRC only operating in Gaza City

“… because of a security situation yesterday…” said their spokesperson.

More as we get it.


Israel appeals to UNRWA

This from the horse’s mouth – the official call for help from Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Israel establishes the humanitarian corridor and ceasefire for Palestinian civilians just as UNRWA decides to pull out:

Israel views the humanitarian work being carried out by the international aid organizations in Gaza, headed by UNRWA, as very important, especially during this period of hardship to the local population due to the ongoing fighting.

Israel is committed to do everything to assist these organizations in performing their work and is prepared to conduct a positive dialogue with them in order to solve any problems that may develop. The channels of communication are open, and should be used for the benefit of the civilian population in Gaza.

Israel decided to establish "humanitarian recesses" in its military activity in order to enable the civilians in Gaza to supply themselves with food and water and to receive medical treatment, and to enable the aid organizations to carry out their work properly and as safely as possible.

More news: sanitation, power, sewage...

We wish we could release the COGAT report – it really does show how much Israel and Egypt are cooperating to repair some of the damage to civilian infrastructure caused by the fighting over the last two weeks.

However, in lieu of releasing the document online, we can provide it by email on request.

In the meantime, here are the headlines:


·         From Israel: Of the ten high-voltage lines that Israel uses to supply 124MW of power to Gaza, 6 are damaged
3 were fixed 7-8/1/09; 3 are due to be fixed today/tomorrow

·         From Egypt: Of the two high-voltage lines that Egypt uses to supply 17MW of power to Gaza, 1 was damaged and is now fixed
Unfortunately it carried the majority – 12MW - but it was fixed on 7/1/09

·         From Gaza: The power station, which can produce 60-80MW, has been offline while diesel stocks ran too low and the main line out was damaged

·         Israel is in the process of transferring the necessary fuel – 0.7m of 1.5m litres so far – and once restocking is complete it will reopen

·         The local power station staff are fixing the line and it was due to be finished on 8/1/09

·         And 20 transformers and other parts are being transferred by Israel at the request of the power station staff and should have been transferred 8/1/09


Water treatment

·         Israel has transferred enough hypochoric (?) acid to treat and asnitise all Gaza’s water supplies for a month

·         Mahmoud Abbas has requested a number of generators be supplied to water treatment plants – these should be supplied over the next few days



·         Local staff at the North Gaza Treatment Plant have asked Israel to provide a range of equipment and expertise in order to get the treatment plant working again (this treatment plant has been one of the foci of major concern by Oxfam and others over the past few days).


There’s more detail in the file – we are happy to pass it on if requested.

Sky breaking news: ICRC suspending operations too?

Sky News is carrying a ticker which claims ICRC is also pulling back from Gaza, following UNRWA’s similar surprise announcement.

ICRC have primarily been responsible for a huge amount of medical support to Gazan civilians, and facilitating the flow of medical supplies into and around Gaza.

Their access was previously restricted by the IDF at the start of the conflict but the situation was resolved at the start of this week.

The Gazan population desperately needs their support – it would be a tragedy if they were to pull out now.

Click here to donate to ICRC’s incredible work in Gaza.

More information as we receive it.


34 medical cases treated in Israel on Wednesday

COGAT notes (almost as a footnote) that Israel evacuated 34 Palestinians into Israel for emergency treatment on Wednesday alone.

They note that local southern Israeli hospitals are expecting to receive further civilian casualties for the rest of the week.

Israel has of course been evacuating casualties – and normal medical cases – since the beginning of the conflict.

We are happy to make connections with COGAT spokespersons for news agencies – leave us your details in a comment and we’ll call you back when we do the moderation.


COGAT update 8 Jan: aid deliveries on 2nd day of ceasefire

During yesterday’s 3-hour lull…

89 trucks of aid (2227 tons) came in through Kerem Shalom: food, medical supplies and medication

315,000 litres of fuel went into Nahal Oz’s silos
143 tons of natural gas also went into Nahal Oz

… and 223 foreign nationals came out of Gaza through Erez.

Of the 89 trucks:
1 came from Mercy Corps
1 from Italy
2 from ICRC
4 from WHO – first one since Jan 1
7 from Jordan – part of the daily aid transfer
12 from the World Food Programme
15 from UNRWA
and 47 came from the private sector

UNRWA in Gaza: more details


YNet has just issued a story detailing the reasons for UNRWA ceasing (temporarily, we hope) its work in Gaza: the IDF killed one of its local workers on his way to collect a shipment.

"The UN is suspending its aid operations in Gaza until we can get safety and security guarantees for our staff," spokesman Chris Gunness said. "We've been coordinating with them (Israeli forces) and yet our staff continues to be hit and killed."

UNRWA supports up to 750,000 Gazans with daily rounds to 20,000 people, and employs 9,000 local staff, providing a significant boost to Gaza’s economy.

Ban Ki-Moon: UN priorities in Gaza

Amongst other statements on Gaza available on its UNRWA website, the UN has issued a statement from Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. Included within it is a statement of the UN’s aid priorities:

We are in close contact with the Israeli authorities to press them to open not only the Kerem Shalom crossing, but also Karni and Nahal Oz, to allow in, particularly, wheat grain and fuel for the power plant, as well as other essential supplies.

BBC/wire: UNRWA suspends work in Gaza again

Apparently because their premises keep coming under attack. More soon.

Mercy Corps interview: 'It's very hard to get aid into Gaza'

Cassandra Nelson of Mercy Corps is live on BBC News claiming that aid is ‘extremely hard’ to get in and even harder to get around – that ‘aid is an absolute trickle’.

This contrasts strongly with Mercy Corps’ earlier statements, and with other NGOs’ experiences, which is a shame.

Mercy Corps has brought in 3 tons of aid on 1 truck so far to Gaza.                   

We’d love to hear from any Mercy Corps organisers so we can try to help them coordinate more closely with the other NGOs.

Amazing report on Egyptian hospital assistance

ICRC has published a report detailing the work Egyptian doctors are doing at Rafah to help the wounded that turn up there. Previous reports have documented the hurdles they have to go to to help the wounded – see this video from the Guardian website.

Also, note the report that Israel's forces are helping ambulances get to Rafah earlier today - but note the concern that ICRC voices over unnecessary hindrances by Israeli troops too.

Updated COGAT report: 6 January aid, fuel and power through widened corridor

Yesterday Israel widened its aid corridor and coordinated the influx of aid with a 3 hour lull in fighting.

Hamas voluntarily mirrored the lull, and the aid agencies were coordinated in advance via the Tel Aviv situation centre, so the flow of aid into and around Gaza was greatly improved.

In an unusual update, COGAT have reported that the amount of aid going in was even better than expected – even including the new fuel pipeline.

So here are the updated details:

76 trucks carrying 2068 tons of aid

482,000 litres of diesel for the power station

92,000 litres of diesel for the UN

43 tons of gas for domestic use

Plus this very good news:

The Coordination and Liaison Administration also coordinated the movement of 14 ambulances from Shifa hospital to the Rafah border crossing to facilitate medical evacuation of wounded. Further coordination activities included transport of fuel tankers to replenish diesel supplies in hospitals in the northern region, and coordination of access to main power lines to rehabilitate the power supply. Works are underway and are expected to be completed over the next few days. Supplies for the electrical infrastructure are scheduled to be shipped tomorrow (8.1.2009).

UNRWA: new emergency appeal

UNRWA’s Syria office has launched a local $35m appeal for funding. The press release doesn’t mention the Flash Appeal begun a few days ago, but we assume that the monies go into the same pot.

Click here to donate to UNRWA’s amazing work in Gaza.


Why is USAID so quiet?

USAID in Gaza have gone from publishing a press release every day throughout November to having published zero since December 4.

Why are they so quiet? Why aren’t they publicizing any of the work they must be doing in Gaza?


Israel formally opens Humanitarian Affairs Coordination Centre


The IDF’s taken over running the situation room, which makes sense since Tzipi Livni’s busy with lots of things.

Here’s what they have to say on who they’re coordinating with and what the point is:

Today, the IDF opened a Humanitarian Affairs Coordination Center (HACC) today, in Tel-Aviv. 

The center's aim is to coordinate between the different organizations operating in the field and those of the IDF and will not replace existing structures. The center will place highest priority to the evacuation of foreign nationals and to coordinating the flow of food, fuel and supplies of goods to the humanitarian organizations.

Organizations represented include the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), USAID, World Food Program, the European Commission, the United Nations Special Coordintor for the Middle East (UNSCO), UNRWA, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, as well as Israeli governmental agencies and IDF departments.

Journalists in Gaza

Finally the IDF are allowing an agreed 8 journalists into Gaza. This from the IDF spokesperson:

Dear international journalists,

The Israel Defence Forces has permitted the entry of a limited embed press pool into the Gaza Strip and will be distributing footage from this pool later tonight.

Access to video material from Gaza will be via the operations office at JCS.

The Israeli court system had ruled that the Foreign Press Association could bring up to 8 journalists into Gaza; journalists have been lobbying ever since to be allowed in. Let’s hope they’re kept safe and can keep  their reports unbiased.


New direct fuel pipeline laid in Gaza

We’ve been passed information which was given to NGO leaders in Tzipi Livni’s new ‘humanitarian situation room’.

Apparently Israel’s been working behind the scenes to improve the flow of aid, just as UNRWA complains not enough is being done.

This may indicate the first of a series of improvements to aid delivery programmes:
150,000 litres of fuel went in through a new pipeline, straight into the power station

In addition, 440,000 litres of fuel and cooking gas went into the Nahal Oz fuel silos the normal way.

More details as we hear them.

UNRWA's first report on the 3 hour ceasefire

BBC News carries the head of UNRWA in Gaza reporting on today’s 3 hour window.

He reports that during that time UNRWA received 36 trucks – 31 fuel, 5 medicine – of the 80 trucks expected today.

Yesterday COGAT distributed 57 trucks to all aid agencies.

“But we need more…

People need to be brave enough to come to our centres and collect their aid… 3 hours might not be enough.”

Plus he reports that the UNRWA shipment was nearly hit twice by Israeli shells on its way out of the distribution centre, before the window. Bad news.

COGAT details: 6 January aid deliveries

This has been updated: see the post above for even better news.

57 trucks carrying 1312 tons through Kerem Shalom:

· Flour, powdered milk, medical supplies and medication, barley and animal feed

· All at the request of UNRWA, WFP and WHO, and provided by Jordan, Egypt and Greece.

Plus there’s more good news…

· Israel’s supplying hypochlorite to help improve clean water supplies

· And with the help of ICRC, the government is restoring a power line into Gaza City which will provide an extra 12MW of power immediately – it’s desperately needed.

Here's the scoop from COGAT

From the Israeli PM’s office:

In order to prevent a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has decided to adopt a security establishment proposal to establish a humanitarian corridor in the Strip to assist the population. This would entail opening geographic areas for certain periods of time during which the population would be able to equip itself and receive the assistance. The exact details will be determined by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories [COGAT].

And from COGAT direct (our bold):

Following the decision of the Israeli political echelon, as of today (Wednesday, 7 January 2009) the IDF will refrain from fire throughout Gaza City for a period of three hours a day, in order to provide a "humanitarian corridor" for the people of the city. During this time, the residents of the city will be able to acquire basic necessities, and damaged infrastructures can be repaired. Today, Wednesday, the IDF will halt all fire in Gaza City from 13:00-16:00 (1:00-4:00 pm).

In addition, about 80 trucks carrying food, medicine and basic equipment are scheduled to pass into Gaza via the Kerem Shalom crossing. About half a million liters of fuel are scheduled to pass through the Nahal Oz terminal, as well as 60,000 liters of fuel to be transferred for the first time by truck via the Kerem Shalom crossing.


Confirmed: aid corridor open

Following the Israelis’ agreement to stop their action for three hours a day, the aid corridor is now open.

Israel is allowing the free flow of aid from humanitarian distribution networks until at least 2pm today.

From the BBC:
Israel has halted military operations in Gaza for three hours in the first of a daily, planned ceasefire, it says.
An Israeli spokesman said it would allow Gazans to "get medical attention, get supplies... whatever they need".


ICRC calls for more water and quicker ambulances


In today’s operational update, ICRC note that only 35 of Gaza’s 45 wells are still functional, leading to a requirement for water to be trucked in.

They also note that although they have ambulances, they often can’t reach the wounded in time – again, more concern for access for humanitarian needs as noted earlier by WHO and WFP.

Details of DFID £4m to Gaza

A press release has appeared on DFID's website giving more details of the £4m (€4m / $6m) donation they're passing to Gaza.

DFID notes that their aid will specifically go to providing more fuel to Gaza. Israel has provided only 300,000 litres of fuel this week – far below the stated requirement of 1.5m to 2m litres a week.

They'll be tying it into UNRWA's Flash Appeal, the stated aims of which are to feed 500,000 people, rehouse 5,000 Gazans made homeless by the Israeli action, and provide cash assistance for 2,500 families.


Diary of an aid worker: updated

Hatem Shurrab, working with UK charity Islamic Relief Worldwide, is blogging on the BBC website from Gaza – he’s just posted his latest update.


Everyone's waiting for the UN...

A BBC reporter in New York is reporting that rumours suggest the UN is preparing the ground for a ceasefire, dependent on:

Aid corridors in Gaza, as called for yesterday by Egypt

Free flow of aid into Gaza – potentially more than what’s going in already

UK government sends £4m aid to Gaza

Sky News's updates service is reporting that UK International Secretary Douglas Alexander has given the green light to an immediate £4m transfer of aid to Gaza – part of the promised £6.8m pledge.

No details on how this will be transferred, or what it will be for – we'll let you know when we know.