Britain to give 19 million pounds to Gaza

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Britain is to give 19 million pounds (27 million dollars, 23 million euros) to help support schools and health clinics for Gazan refugees, the government said Saturday.

The money, which will be formally announced by International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell on Sunday, is part of a five-year, 100-million-pound agreement signed with the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA) in 2006.

Confirmation of the 2010 contribution comes amid renewed concern about Israel's blockade of Gaza following a deadly raid by Israeli commandos on an aid ship bound for the Palestinian territory earlier this week.

Mitchell is expected to describe the humanitarian situation in Gaza as "both unacceptable and unsustainable", and call on the Jewish state to open the border crossings.

Foreign Secretary William Hague on Saturday called for urgent, "unfettered" access to Gaza to help people there.

About 70 percent of Gazans depend on UNWRA for healthcare, education and other basic services, British officials say.

© 2010 AFP

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