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Palestinian children call for int'l intervention to end Gaza's worsening crisis

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Dozens of Palestinian children demonstrated in Gaza on Sunday to appeal for international intervention to end the worsening economic crisis in the Israeli-besieged enclave.

As part of a campaign launched by the Coalition of Palestinian Charities in the Gaza Strip entitled "Save Gaza", Palestinian children waved banners condemning the Israeli siege, urging Israel to open Gaza's crossings, and calling for more access to safe drinking water, electricity and decent health care.

Nazih Al-Banna, director of the campaign, told Xinhua that the event "comes in light of the suffering from the Israeli siege, which has worsened the condition of the humanitarian sector."

The Gaza Strip, home to more than 2 million Palestinians, faces severe shortage of basic services due to a power outage for most of the day and pollution of drinking water.

Economic deficiencies are exacerbated by the ongoing internal division between the Islamic Hamas Movement, which controls the Gaza Strip since 2007, and the Palestinian government based in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Scores of employees of Gaza's cleaning companies recently announced plans to protest for an hour a day, as they have not been paid their salary for four months.

They called on the Palestinian government to fulfil its pledges. There are some 800 cleaners in Gaza's hospitals.

"I could not meet the basic needs of my eight-member family due to unpaid salaries over the past months," Anam al-Taweel, a Gaza cleaner, told Xinhua.

Meanwhile, three hospitals and 10 medical centers have suspended services over an acute fuel shortage in Gaza, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Gaza hospitals need 450,000 liters of fuel a month to operate their power generators.

Ashraf Al-Qedra, a spokesman for the Palestinian Health Ministry, confirmed to Xinhua that the hospitals had halted all treatments and patients were being transferred to other facilities in the enclave.

"Forty-five per cent of basic medicines and medical supplies are out in the facilities of the ministry and 58 per cent of laboratory supplies and blood banks have been run out," Al-Qedra added.

The spokesman warned of grave health consequences of the fuel crisis on the patients in Gaza.

The Gaza Strip boasts a total of 13 ministry-run hospitals and 54 primary health care centers that account for roughly 95 percent of health services in the coastal enclave.

The chronic energy crisis has forced local authorities to adopt a rotation system, in which power is cut in some parts of the enclave to ensure supply to other areas.

Currently, Israel provides Gaza with 120 megawatts of electricity while Egypt provides 32 megawatts.

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