By Mirela Xanthaki
"UNITED NATIONS, Feb 3 (IPS) - The United Nations is urgently appealing for 613 million dollars to aid more than a million desperate civilians in the ruins of Gaza, where schools, hospitals, houses, factories and even farmland were obliterated during the three-week assault by Israeli air and ground forces.
Over 1,300 Palestinians were killed and more than 5,300 injured in the war, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Some 21,000 homes were reported destroyed or badly damaged, and more than 50,000 people were displaced into temporary U.N. shelters.
"Whole industrial areas [were] completely flattened, buildings blasted into piles of rubble," Christine van Nieuwenhuyse, the World Food Programme's (WFP) country director for the occupied Palestinian territories, reported after her recent trip to Gaza.
"While there were some areas left totally untouched, it was precisely the strategic economic areas that Gaza depends on to relieve its dependency on aid that were wiped out," she wrote......"