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Kiwi in Gaza calls for end to violence

By Patrice Dougan

Demonstrators march down Auckland's Queen St to protest Israeli aggression in Gaza and Palestine. Photo / Michael Craig
Demonstrators march down Auckland's Queen St to protest Israeli aggression in Gaza and Palestine. Photo / Michael Craig

A call for the fighting in Gaza to stop has come from the Kiwi head of an international aid charity working on the ground.

Alex Snary, World Vision's national director of Jerusalem-West Bank-Gaza, has today called on both sides to end the "indiscriminate" violence.

"This has to stop. Now. Children are not targets," he said.

Mr Snary, originally from Tauranga, voiced concerns for the growing humanitarian disaster in Gaza.

"We are rapidly approaching the precipice of a total collapse in public services which will lead to a significant increase in the scale of the humanitarian emergency in Gaza," he said.

"As an occupying power Israel has a legal obligation to cease targeting service infrastructure and personnel and ensure the delivery of basic services to the 1.8m people it is holding in Gaza."

More than 1717 people have been killed in hostilities in the current conflict, World Vision estimates, with at least 377 of those children.

More than 485,000 people have been displaced.

World Vision is working to provide emergency relief in Gaza, including psychosocial support for children who have been injured, lost a family member, or forced to take shelter.

The international development agency has also procured medical supplies for a hospital in north Gaza, and distributed 200 food parcels to families.

Mr Snary has also crossed into Gaza to help the charity's team on the ground.

"It is strange moving down the deserted streets, heavily damaged buildings, piles of rubble, the smell of death and garbage," he said in a first hand account.

"The constant buzz of Israeli drones punctuated from time to time by screaming F16s followed by a boom and the earth shakes. Then comes the wails of ambulance sirens moving to the site of the latest civilian dead and dying."

* To donate to World Vision visit here.

- APNZ

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