Palestinian holds his belongings from the rubble of his house that was destroyed by an Israeli air strike Gaza City. Picture: Reuters/Mohammed Salem

Jerusalem –  The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Occupied Palestinian Territory, Jamie McGoldrick, has warned that due to a shortage of health funding approximately 1 700 Gazans shot by Israeli security forces may be forced to undergo limb amputations.

McGoldrick told reporters on Wednesday that 29 000 Palestinians had been wounded in protests over the past year with about 7 000 of them suffering gunshot wounds in the lower legs.

"You've got 1 700 people who are in need of serious, complicated surgeries for them to be able to walk again," McGoldrick said.

"These are people who have been shot during the demonstrations and who are in need of rehabilitation, and very, very serious and complex bone reconstruction surgery over a two-year period before they start to rehabilitate themselves."

Without the necessary procedures being undertaken the risk of amputation was high and that is why the UN is seeking $20 million to fill the gap in health spending.

Furthermore, a lack of funds could interrupt the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Relief and Works Agency’s (UNRWA) food supplies to one million Palestinians.

A lack of funding to the World Food Programme and UNRWA, the UN humanitarian agency that supports Palestinians displaced by the 1948 war of Israel's founding, also meant there could be an interruption of food supplies for 1 million people.

"If that stops, there is no alternative for people to bring food in from any other sources, because they don't have purchasing power," McGoldrick said.

Shortages of funding, exacerbated by the US cutting aid to the Palestinians, has translated into aid to 193 000 people being cut this year in Gaza with 27 000 getting nothing and the rest getting only $8 per month instead of the usual $10.

Two million Gazans are living under a joint Egyptian-Israeli blockade which has decimated the coastal territory’s economy, impoverished the health system, left large sections of the population living in abject poverty and rife unemployment.

African News Agency (ANA)