JENIN REFUGEE CAMP: URGENT NEED FOR HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE

Amnesty International said:

'If this was an earthquake the international community would be asked for - and would certainly grant - urgent help.

It is shocking that the authorities have not asked for help and that the international community is not offering it. Let this be the wake up call to show that help is needed now to save what life there is left.'

Speaking from inside Jenin refugee camp, Amnesty International delegate Javier Zúñiga said:

'This is one of the worst scenes of devastation I have ever witnessed. It is almost impossible to conceive that what was once a town is now a lunar landscape.

There is a real possibility that people are still alive under the rubble of their former homes. One of our colleagues from a local human rights organisation received a phone call from a family of 10 trapped below ground and asking for help, yet there is no evidence of concerted efforts to search for and rescue survivors.'

Another member of the Amnesty International delegation - Professor Derrick Pounder - this morning gained access to the Jenin Government Hospital. Mr Pounder, who is Professor of Forensic Medicine at Dundee University, is today conducting autopsies to clarify the cause of death of those bodies in the hospital. Scores more bodies are believed to remain in the refugee camp, mainly in the rubble of bulldozed houses.

Amnesty International had previously been denied access to the Jenin hospital, but this decision was reversed early on Wednesday morning. Access to the camp had also previously been denied, but check-points were removed on Wednesday morning allowing limited entry.

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