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    Ban Ki-moon Says Gaza In Urgent Need of Humanitarian Aid

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    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called Tuesday for urgent humanitarian aid for Gaza as thousands of people remain homeless in the region.

    UNITED NATIONS, October 21 (RIA Novosti) - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called Tuesday for urgent humanitarian aid for Gaza as thousands of people remain homeless in the region.

    “More than 100,000 residents remain homeless and other 50,000 still sheltering in UN-run school buildings,” Ban Ki-moon told the Security Council.

    The Secretary-General said that “$414 million is immediately needed for humanitarian relief, $1.2 billion for early recovery needs and $2.4 billion for reconstruction efforts”.

    After Israel bombed the power plant in Gaza during the recent military conflict, Ban Ki-moon said that “blackouts of up to 18 hours per day are common”. The UN Observer State of Palestine's representative Riyad Mansour claimed the blackouts were up to 22 hours a day.

    “I fully understand the security threat to Israel from rockets above and tunnels below. At the same time, the scale of the destruction in Gaza has left deep questions about the proportionality and the need for accountability,” Ban Ki-moon added.

    During his trip last week to Gaza, Ban Ki-moon visited a UN school in the Jabalia refugee camp, which was shelled by Israel during the conflict.

    UN Secretary-General said he looks forward to “a thorough investigation by the Israeli Defense Forces of this and other incidents in which UN facilities sustained hits and many innocent people were killed”.

    “I am planning to move forward with an independent Board of Inquiry to look into the most serious of those cases, as well as instances in which weaponry was found on UN premises,” he added.

    Ban Ki-moon also mentioned that “ultimately, long-term stability requires a comprehensive peace agreement leading to a viable and independent Palestinian state”.

    Palestine's representative Riyad Mansour, speaking to the Security Council after Ban Ki-moon, cited the draft resolution which would set a two year time limit for negotiations for the two state solution. No vote for that draft resolution has yet been scheduled.

    The latest 50-day armed conflict in Gaza in June had claimed the lives of over 2,100 Palestinians and about 70 Israelis before an open-ended ceasefire was agreed upon on August 26.

    Palestinians seek the creation of an independent state on the territories of the West Bank in East Jerusalem, partially occupied by Israel, as well as on the Gaza Strip territory. Palestine designated Jerusalem as its capital and calls on Israel to withdraw from the Palestinian territories it took after the 1967 war.

    By September 2013, the Palestinian State has been recognized by 134 UN member states, including Russia.

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    humanitarian aid, UN, Ban Ki-moon, Gaza Strip
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