Additional $70 million needed to meet Palestinians’ emergency needs, UN agency says
The lead United Nations agency helping Palestinian refugees today said an additional $70 million would be required to meet the emergency humanitarian needs of people in the West Bank and Gaza resulting from the recent incursions by the Israeli military into the occupied Palestinian territory.
Today’s request by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) at a donor meeting in Amman, Jordan, comes on top of the $117 million the Agency said in January it needed just to fund its emergency programmes for this year. So far, only $46 million has been pledged for that earlier appeal.
UNRWA Commissioner-General Peter Hansen told donor representatives that the challenges facing the refugees were immense.
“After 18 months of closure and hardship the recent Israeli invasion has led to large-scale destruction of shelters, water supplies, electricity lines and sewage lines,” he said. “There has been a wholesale destruction of civic infrastructure with the result that a large portion of the refugee population finds itself without the basic services and means of support for the minimum standards of life. The refugees urgently need the support of the international community.”
UNRWA confirmed at today’s meeting that the United Arab Emirates had pledged to fund the rebuilding of the 800 shelters and camp infrastructure destroyed in the centre of the Jenin refugee camp.
Meanwhile, the Agency said that it was forced to draw on existing, overstretched, resources to tend to the wounded and supply food, medicine and water to areas affected by the recent Middle East strife. Extra funds were now needed to replenish its food and medicines stocks and to cater to the longer-term needs of the Palestine refugees. UNRWA also described to donors the extreme difficulties it faced in carrying out humanitarian work because of the access restrictions imposed by Israel’s military authorities.