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Sweden to send emergency aid to Gaza

world Updated: Jan 05, 2009 20:02 IST

AFP
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Sweden said Monday it would send more than a million dollars in extra emergency aid to Palestinians in Gaza to help deal with the humanitarian impact of Israel's massive offensive there.

"The situation for the Gaza population is becoming ever more difficult," said the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), a government agency that reports to the foreign ministry.

"As a first step, Sida will send an additional 10 million kronor (1.3 million dollars) to a UN-administered local fund for humanitarian aid," it said in a statement.

Sweden, which sent a total of 413 million kronor (52 million dollars) in aid to the West Bank and Gaza last year, had already sent an extra seven million kronor to the Gaza Strip before Israel began its bombing campaign there on December 27, Sida said.

"That money is already available and is being used right now to cover immediate needs like fuel for the hospitals, medicine and food," said Tage Zeineldin, who heads Sida's humanitarian team in the Palestinian territories.

The extra 10 million kronor, which would be available for use within a few days, are "a first step before we can carry out a more detailed analysis of ... how Sweden can best contribute to easing the effects on people in the area," the agency said.

More than 500 Palestinians, including 87 children, have been killed and more than 2,500 others wounded since Israel unleashed its "Operation Cast Lead" 10 days ago.