28 Dec 2009

Gaza damage must be repaired - UN chief

10:43 pm on 28 December 2009

One year on from Israel's Gaza offensive, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says more must be done to repair the damage caused by Israeli military action.

Mr Ban says Gazans are being denied basic human rights and has urged Israel to end what he calls its unacceptable and counterproductive blockade.

UN Relief and Works Agency spokesperson Christopher Gunness says public health services in Gaza are on the brink of disaster.

Mr Gunness told the BBC there's been an increase in infant mortality because of diarrhoea.

Thousands of tons of raw sewage are pumped into the sea off the coast of Gaza every day because materials to reconstruct the public service infrastructure are not available, he says.

Nearly 1,400 Palestinians were killed in the three-week offensive, which also caused massive damage to buildings and infrastructure.

Rallies are being held across Gaza to mark a year since the beginning of the conflict.