The United Nations’ relief agency is appealing to donors for USD 181 million to help avert a humanitarian crisis in the war-torn Gaza Strip.
As the holy month of Ramadan nears, the United Nations’ relief agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) said that it is both ‘regretful and shameful’ that Gaza refugees continue to live in intolerable circumstances.
In a statement, the organization called on donors "to provide food assistance, job creation opportunities, and cash assistance for the poorest of the poor to help them repair their houses with the limited building supplies available despite the blockade, and to help them with rent and other vital necessities in the interim."
The refugees have been facing awful conditions ranging from unemployment, inadequate access to water, electricity and sanitation since the 2007 Israeli blockade of Gaza coupled with an all-out military attack in late 2008 which continued through early 2009, the statement added.
The UNRWA statement characterized the situation in the Gaza Strip as a ‘stifling siege’.
Thousands of Palestinians are still living in tents or in the rubble of their homes that were destroyed in the Israeli onslaught, the agency said. Many of these may have to spend the winter without proper shelter if the situation does not change.
The statement further said, "Of the billions pledged for reconstruction, not one penny has reached Gaza." This is only because Israel has blocked construction materials from getting into Gaza, it said.