Restrictions to Staff Movement Hamper Humanitarian Work in Palestinian Territories - Aid Groups

Sacks of humanitarian aid for distribution in Gaza remain exposed at a stadium in Egypt. Photo by: Lina Atallah / IRIN

Humanitarian work in the Palestinian territories is being hampered by severe restrictions on the movement of aid workers there, according to the United Nations and several international non-governmental organizations.

Staff movement is delayed because of restrictions such as checkpoints and other physical barriers, U.N. and NGO officials told IRIN News. This delay in movement affects the pace and quality of project implementation and adds to the cost of operations, according to Max Gaylard, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator in the Palestinian territories.

There are approximately 1,000 internal checkpoints, earth mounds, trenches and roadblocks in the West Bank, IRIN News says. These were established by Israel as part of its security efforts in the region.

An international NGO working in Gaza said it also experiences difficulty securing permits for West Bank nationals to enter Gaza. Oxfam said this forces the organization to hire more foreign staff, which duplicates positions and increases operational costs, IRIN reports.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.