Gaza: looming catastrophe


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The Independent Online

By 2020 the population of the tiny Gaza Strip, writes Robert Turner, Gaza Director of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, will grow by half a million people: 500,000 more to be fed, housed, educated, employed. More than half of the population will be under 18, with one of the highest youth populations as a proportion anywhere in the world.

Our prescription to avert this looming but avoidable catastrophe is simple. While the UN has condemned the rockets many times, we continue to demand a lifting of the blockade, which is costing the international community hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Allow the people of Gaza to enjoy the standards of development and economic prosperity for which they yearn. They are capable of self-sufficiency. They do not want the current levels of 80% aid dependency to continue and neither do the world's taxpayers who fund the international aid agencies. Let us address the root causes of this looming disaster rather than expecting the international community to foot the bill to mitigate their disastrous consequences