UNRWA: End the Horror in the Camps
        Monday, April 08 2002

        GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip: Mr Peter Hansen, Commissioner General of
        UNRWA, the United Nation's Relief and Works Agency for
        Palestine Refugees, has called on the Israeli military to cease
        its bloody assault on Palestinian refugee camps in the West
        Bank.

        Mr Hansen said: "The Israeli Defence Force has made a hellish
        battleground among the civilians in the Balata and Jenin
        refugee camps. We are getting reports of pure horror - that
        helicopters are strafing civilian residential areas; that
        systematic shelling by tanks has created hundreds of wounded;
        that bulldozers are razing refugee homes to the ground and that
        food and medicine will soon run out. In the name of human
        decency the Israeli military must allow our ambulances safe
        passage to help evacuate the wounded and deliver emergency
        supplies of medicines and food."

        "Israel is a signatory to international conventions that
        protect non-combatants in times of conflict. Those conventions
        are worthless if they are not adhered to precisely at times of
        the greatest blood-letting. The world is watching and Israel
        needs to end this pitiless assault on civilian refugee camps."

        UNRWA's ambulances and food trucks have been repeatedly refused
        access to the West Bank camps over the past three days but
        stand ready to move immediately the moment that the Israeli
        military can guarantee that they will not come under fire from
        its troops.

        Bodies are piling up in the corridors of Jenin hospital, where
        30 people are reported to have died in the last 36 hours, the
        operating theatre there has run out of oxygen and medicines are
        about to run out.

        Richard Cook, director of UNRWA operations in the West Bank
        said: "A humanitarian disaster is in the making in the West
        Bank camps. There has been an alarming loss of life. UNRWA must
        have, without delay, safe access to the camps to carry out its
        humanitarian mission."

        For Information Only Not an Official Document For more
        information contact: In Gaza: Paul McCann on 059 428 008 or Ros
        Young on 059 428 015 In Jerusalem: Sami Mshasha on 050 317 094