MELNOURNE-Australia announced an additional AUD 5 million in urgent humanitarian assistance to Gaza to provide emergency food and medical supplies for the victims of the war-torn territory today.
Foreign minister Julie Bishop said in a statement that the government was deeply concerned about the continuing conflict, the growing number of casualties and the deteriorating humanitarian situation between Israel and militant groups.
"Many Palestinian civilians have lost their lives along with a number of Israeli soldiers and civilians. Large numbers of people have been displaced from their homes, buildings and essential services damaged and livelihoods jeopardized," she said.
"To respond to growing needs, the Australian Government is providing 5 million dollars in urgent humanitarian assistance to Gaza," she said, adding that this would be delivered through the established development partners in Gaza - the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), World Vision and APHEDA.
The funds would be used to provide emergency food, medical supplies, hygiene kits, and psycho-social support, besides enabling UNRWA to restore education and health services and help NGOs to rebuild livelihood programs for communities.
The newly announced assistance is in addition to Australia's existing commitment to provide USD 56.5 million in development assistance to the Palestinian Territories in 2014-15.
"This funding will help build Palestinian institutional capacity, stimulate private sector economic growth, improve livelihoods and meet humanitarian needs. UNRWA will receive USD 20 million of this funding," the statement said.
The federal Government welcomed the 12-hour humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza and also strongly supported efforts by world leaders, including UN Secretary-General Ban ki Moon and US Secretary of State John Kerry, to secure a permanent ceasefire.
"This objective must be the focus of international diplomatic efforts," she said. The 21-day Gaza conflict has killed 1,030 Palestinians and 46 Israelis