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Palestinian towns suffered $300-$400 million worth of damage, UNDP says

Palestinian towns suffered $300-$400 million worth of damage, UNDP says

Recent Israeli incursions in Palestinian towns in the West Bank have caused hundreds of millions of dollars worth of damage, according to estimates released today by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Tim Rothermel, the Special Representative of the UNDP Administrator for the Programme for Assistance to the Palestinian People, said the total damage in the West Bank could range between $300 million and $400 million. The total damage to Nablus is estimated at $110 million, while the agency said Qalqilya suffered some $3.5 million worth of damage.

UNDP said the Palestinian Authority's central institutions in Ramallah suffered approximately $16 million in damages. This figure "does not include invaluable public records from various ministries, including the Ministries of Health, Education and Public Works," Mr. Rothermel observed.

The agency has earmarked $1.5 million for a recovery programme which aims not only to repair damaged buildings and equipment, but also to strengthen staff through training and policy advice.

"Without an efficient and transparent Palestinian public administration, there will be no foundation for peace in the occupied Palestinian territories," said Mr. Rothermel. "I think it is in the interest of all parties in the conflict to have an administration that is able to provide its people with basic social services, education, free trade and all the factors that an open, democratic and prosperous society depends on."

A detailed damage assessment for the entire West Bank and Gaza is being carried out by UNDP and other UN bodies, the World Bank, the European Union and the Governments of Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway and the United States. The results are expected to be made public on 15 May.

Meanwhile, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) today released the preliminary results of its own assessment mission in the Middle East. Reporting on the food situation in Jenin, the agency said that 35,000 people there were in urgent need of food assistance. Around 90 per cent of all commerce with Israel has been lost due to recent closures, and a total of 4,320 people in the Jenin area are now homeless, WFP said.