“The situation for the Gaza population is becoming ever more difficult,” said the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), a government agency that reports to the foreign ministry.
“As a first step, Sida will send an additional 10 million kronor ($1.3 million) to a UN-administered local fund for humanitarian aid,” it said in a statement.
Sweden, which sent a total of 413 million kronor ($52 million) in aid to the West Bank and Gaza last year, had already sent an extra seven million kronor to the Gaza Strip before Israel began its bombing campaign there on December 27th, Sida said.
“That money is already available and is being used right now to cover immediate needs like fuel for the hospitals, medicine and food,” said Tage Zeineldin, who heads Sida’s humanitarian team in the Palestinian territories.
The extra 10 million kronor, which would be available for use within a few days, are “a first step before we can carry out a more detailed analysis of … how Sweden can best contribute to easing the effects on people in the area,” the agency said.
More than 500 Palestinians, including 87 children, have been killed and more than 2,500 others wounded since Israel unleashed its “Operation Cast Lead” 10 days ago.