STATEMENT FROM THE NDP ON THE HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN GAZA
The official opposition International Development critic Hélène Laverdière (Laurier—Sainte-Marie) made the following statement about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza:
September 3rd, 2014 - 11:59am
“Following weeks of fighting devastating civilian communities in Gaza, humanitarian relief is urgently needed. With a ceasefire agreement in place, Canada now has an opportunity to contribute to recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction, including funding for housing and shelter; reconstruction of schools, hospitals, water and sewage facilities; and provision of social services, including education and other support for children affected by the conflict.
While the Canadian government’s recent commitment to the World Food Programme to help with food relief is a positive step, the needs of the people of Gaza are enormous. The government must work with Canadian and international partners to help provide immediate and long-term help to recovery efforts. This includes helping Palestinian children in Gaza who will return to school in the coming weeks. With more than forty per cent of Gaza’s population under 15 years of age, it will be especially important that agencies have financial support for emergency and long-term education, as well as child-friendly spaces and trauma-healing programs.
It is estimated by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNWRA) that one thousand of the three thousand Palestinian children injured in the conflict will suffer a permanent disability. Canada should support efforts to help these young Palestinians. We continue to urge the Conservative government to support Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish’s appeal to Canadians to help injured children from Gaza to be treated here in Canada.
UNWRA has made flash appeal for $295.4 million to cover basic and immediate needs of Palestinians over the next month. We call on the Canadian government to support the UN appeal through UNWRA, as well as non-governmental organizations working to address urgent humanitarian needs of the people in Gaza. New Democrats continue to call for the lifting of the blockade of Gaza, which is directly linked to poverty in Gaza.
Finally, Canada should work with countries like Britain, Germany, France, Norway, and Egypt, who have been taking the lead on helping with reconstruction efforts.”