UNRWA: More than half of Gaza’s population may not receive enough food next month

UNRWA
File Reuters

UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — More than a million people, who make up more than half the population of the besieged Gaza Strip, who depend on food aid from the international community, may not be getting enough food next month, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) said.

The agency said in a statement that it needed at least an additional $ 60 million by June to continue to secure food for more than 1 million Palestinian refugees in Gaza out of the 1.9 million people in Gaza.

According to UNRWA, 620,000 people in Gaza suffer from extreme poverty, defined as those who must live on less than $ 1.6 per day, while 390,000 people suffer from absolute poverty – those living on less than $ 3.5 per person One day.

These data face great challenges, especially since almost entirely their funding depends on voluntary contributions, and financial support has not matched the growth in needs, the agency said in a statement.

The US administration announced in August last year that it would suspend all funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

The closure of Gaza and subsequent “catastrophic” effects on the local community, as well as successive conflicts and internal political crisis, have led to an increase in the number of refugees receiving social aid from UNRWA in Gaza from 80,000 in 2000 to more Of a million people today.

“These people need emergency food aid and they can not live without it,” said Matthias Shamali, director of the UNRWA operations in Gaza. “Those who depend on aid have increased tenfold.”

The official spokesman for UNRWA Sami Mashahesh told AFP that work is under way to provide funds in light of the cumulative deficit of the Agency exceeded the barrier of 200 million dollars.

According to Mashaa, the demands of the financial agency is not limited to Gaza, but seeks to cover the general budget, noting that meetings will be held in June and September next with donor countries to discuss this deficit.

The Agency’s statement pointed out that this increase in the deficit is also due to the “tragic” death of 195 Palestinians, including 14 students from UNRWA schools in Gaza, in addition to long-term physical and psychological injuries to 29,000 people during the major return marches.

The statement also said 3,790 people had been killed and more than 17,000 wounded in three devastating conflicts in Gaza since 2009.

According to the IAEA statement, a UN report in 2017 predicted that Gaza would become uninhabitable by 2020, with a 53 percent unemployment rate and more than a million people dependent on UNRWA’s quarterly food aid.

Preventive humanitarian action by United Nations agencies, including UNRWA, and remittances from abroad, prevented Gaza from reaching the brink of total collapse.

Israel has imposed a tight siege on the impoverished sector for more than a decade.

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