Fifteen years of the blockade of the Gaza Strip

Briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General

"Today [21 June] marks 15 years of the blockade of the Gaza Strip.

"Largely due to the blockade, poverty, high unemployment rates and other factors, nearly 80 per cent of Gazans now rely on humanitarian assistance. More than half of Gaza’s just over 2 million people live in poverty, and nearly 80 per cent of the youth are unemployed.

"This year, humanitarians need US$510 million to provide food, water, sanitation and health services to 1.6 million people. The appeal is just 25 per cent funded.

"Meanwhile, the impact of the war in Ukraine, on food and other commodity prices, are particularly pronounced in Gaza.

"The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, UNRWA, needs an extra $72 million by September for its emergency food programme to meet the food needs of 1.1 million Palestinian refugees through the end of the year. The World Food Programme also needs an extra $35 million to compensate for increasing commodity prices. 

"The humanitarian community calls for the lifting of the blockade on Gaza. UN Security Council Resolution 1860 of 2009 stresses the need to ensure sustained and regular flow of goods and people through the Gaza crossings.

"More needs to be done to alleviate the humanitarian situation, with the eventual goal of a full lifting of the Israeli closures, in line with UNSCR 1860 (2009). Only sustainable political solutions will relieve the pressures on the long-suffering people of Gaza.

"Efforts must also continue to encourage all Palestinian political factions towards political consensus and bringing Gaza and the occupied West Bank under one legitimate, democratic Palestinian authority. Gaza remains integral to a future Palestinian State as part of a two-State solution."