Israel chases away farmers, fishers in Gaza Strip – UN

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The ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip has had severe repercussions on the local population, particularly on farmers and fishermen, according to recent reports from the United Nations. The Israeli military, in response to attacks by Hamas on October 7, has imposed a ban on fishing off the Gaza coast. Additionally, Israel has extended a security zone along the Gaza side of the border fence, ranging from 300 to 1,000 meters in some areas, preventing thousands of farmers from cultivating their fields within this zone.

The consequences of these actions are manifold. The fishing ban has significantly hampered the livelihoods of fishermen who depend on the sea for their income. Moreover, the extension of the security zone has barred farmers from their fields, disrupting agricultural activities that are crucial for the region’s food supply. These restrictions have not only limited access to resources but have also curtailed the farmers’ ability to tend to their livestock and crops, leading to substantial losses, especially among poultry.

In addition to these challenges, the Gaza Strip has been grappling with restricted electricity supplies imposed by Israel. This has further compounded the difficulties faced by farmers, impacting their ability to cool agricultural goods and irrigate their fields properly. The lack of animal feed, combined with damages caused by bombings, has exacerbated the crisis, leading to significant losses in livestock.

The situation has also affected food security in the densely populated coastal enclave. The disruptions caused by these restrictions have affected various aspects of daily life, including refrigeration, crop irrigation, and crop incubation devices. As a result, livelihoods, such as poultry farming, cattle rearing, and fishing, have been severely harmed. Furthermore, the halt in food deliveries from the Israeli side has exacerbated the existing challenges, creating a dire situation for the residents of the Gaza Strip.

In response to these challenges, efforts have been made to provide humanitarian aid through the Rafah border crossing to Egypt. Trucks carrying essential supplies, including food, drinking water, medicine, and other relief items, are waiting at the crossing, totaling 3,000 tonnes of aid. While Egypt has pledged to open the crossing to facilitate the delivery of aid to the more than two million residents of the Gaza Strip, the exact timeline for this humanitarian assistance remains uncertain.

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