The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said yesterday that it urgently needed $14 million to prepare and respond to the coronavirus outbreak.
In an appeal posted on its website, the agency outlined the immediate priorities and financial requirements for health and other services related to the pandemic in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.
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“Overcrowded living conditions, physical and mental stress and years of protracted conflict all make the vulnerable population of over 5.6 million Palestine refugees particularly susceptible to the ongoing threats of COVID-19,” UNRWA Acting Commissioner-General Christian Saunders was quoted as saying.
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“All of the Agency’s five fields’ host governments and authorities have announced a series of robust measures to cope with the spread of COVID-19, which UNRWA will follow and factor into its operations,” Saunders added.
Saunders stressed that “Gaza simply does not have the resources and means to weather such a story. Any contribution is gratefully received, every penny will make a difference.”
PM @DrShtayyeh: We want the @UNRWA to join & contribute to the efforts we are exerting to combat & treat the #coronavirus if it is needed in #Palestinian refugee camps, especially in the #Gaza Strip, where refugees make up the majority of its population #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/WRzxjBNvee
— PM of Palestine (@PalestinePMO) March 18, 2020
“The truth is, no amount of ‘preparedness’ in Gaza — or, frankly, anywhere in occupied Palestine — can stop the spread of the Coronavirus,” wrote Palestinian journalist and editor of The Palestine Chronicle Ramzy Baroud, in a recent article.
“What is needed is a fundamental and structural change that would emancipate the Palestinian healthcare system from the horrific impact of the Israeli occupation and the Israeli government’s policies of perpetual siege and politically-imposed “quarantines” — also known as apartheid,” Baroud added.
(Palestine Chronicle, MEMO, Social Media)