Sunday, June 24, 2007
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
"CAIRO, 24 June 2007 (IRIN) - Up to 2,500 residents of the Gaza Strip are stranded on the Egyptian side of the border crossing at Rafah and in the towns of el-Arish and Rafah in the North Sinai governorate, aid agencies say.
The border area between Egypt and the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt), which has been sealed off to media and tourists following an escalation in violence in Gaza, is continuing to host Palestinians unable either to cross to their home territory or return to Cairo. Many of the travellers are attempting to return following medical treatment in the Egyptian capital.
Rula Khalafawi, spokeswoman for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) in Cairo, said that around 1,000 people are stranded at the border checkpoint itself, without means to afford accommodation in the nearby towns of Rafah or el-Arish.
“They are afraid to leave the border in case it opens and also do not have the money for hotels. They are out there by themselves in the desert,” Khalafawi said......"