Belgium delays humanitarion aid to Gaza over safety conditions

"We still believe the demand is there, but under present safety conditions, we cannot do it," foreign said.

Belgium delays humanitarion aid to Gaza over safety conditions

Belgium has postponed a humanitarian mission to treat and transport injured Palestinian children from Gaza because security conditions are hampering their evacuation, the foreign ministry said on Monday.

"We still believe the demand is there, but under present safety conditions, we cannot do it," ministry spokesman Bart Ouvry said.

Medical facilities in Gaza have been overwhelmed since Israel began a military offensive there on Dec. 27, killing nearly 900, a third of children.

A Belgian C-130 aircraft carrying medical supplies and a reconnaissance team was meant to land at the weekend in Egypt's El-Arish, some 60 km (40 miles) from the Gaza Strip.

The Belgians planned to fly injured Gazan children to hospitals in Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan or Europe after they had been evacuated from the territory by local aid groups.

But Ouvry said the fighting had prevented any wounded being brought through the Rafah crossing into Egypt for several days.

Belgium's fellow EU members Luxembourg, Cyprus and Greece have also offered to provide hospital beds or additional medical flights.

Reuters
Last Mod: 12 Ocak 2009, 14:19
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