The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Eri Kaneko, Associate Spokeswoman for the Secretary-General./…

**Gaza

Our humanitarian colleagues report that funding for the United Nations‑assisted emergency fuel programme for back-up generators in Gaza has been exhausted.  As a result, only two thirds of the regular 950,000 litres of fuel will be distributed to 231 critical health, and water sanitation and hygiene facilities in August.  In the absence of new funding, emergency fuel distributions will end by mid-August.  Some $4.5 million is urgently needed for the operation to continue.  The lack of emergency fuel will severely affect the provision of basic services to 2 million Palestinians in Gaza, including more than 2,000 patients in hospitals relying on electrical devices.  Overall, some 1.27 million people will be directly affected by the closure of the hospitals and reduction in provision of vital health interventions.  Additionally, the reduced functioning of water and sanitation facilities risks an increase of waterborne diseases and outbreaks.

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Question:  Thank you.  I just want to ask you, has the United Nations officials been successful in asking Israeli to release… to, what do you call, ease up on the Gaza crossings into Gaza?  Has it been successful, any successful talk to the Israelis?

Associate Spokeswoman:  As you will recall last week, thanks to some interventions by the UN, Egypt and others, we were able to see an opening of the Kerem Shalom crossing to let some fuel out.  What we are asking for is an easing in all areas to allow more goods and items into Gaza, as well as more funding, the situation which you are probably aware of.

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