After an 18 month siege, and a three week bombardment, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is desperate. More than 1,300 people, many of them children, have been killed, thousands more have been injured. An estimated 50,000 families are homeless, camping among the ruins. Up to half the population doesn't have running water. There is no mains electricity. Sewage is pouring into the rubble out of broken pipes.

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), an umbrella group for 13 aid charities, including CAFOD, Christian Aid, the Tear Fund and Action Aid launched its appeal yesterday saying the devastation in Gaza was "so huge British aid agencies were compelled to act".

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