UN agency seeks additional $56 million to repair damage in occupied Palestinian territories
The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) released the supplementary $55.7 million appeal in Geneva, saying it was "over and above" the agency's $117 million emergency request for this year.
According to Rene Aquarone, Chief of the UNRWA Liaison Office in Geneva, the amount was needed for shelter repair, relief and social systems, infrastructure rehabilitation, additional food aid in addition to what was already foreseen in the emergency appeal, education, and employment generation.
Employment generation was important because as the occupied territories went further into this crisis, the possibilities and the coping mechanisms of Palestinians had eroded basically to non-existence, Mr. Aquarone said at a press briefing.
Pointing to Israel’s re-occupation of some of the territories in the last few days, Mr. Aquarone said UNRWA felt that it was seeing signs of a more long-term re-occupation around Bethlehem and other areas. The Agency had been previously able to access most of the re-occupied areas and had provided immediate humanitarian needs, including food and medical supplies, but many of these zones were now closed.
In response to a question about the effects of the new wall that Israel was building, Mr. Aquarone said that it was a "very visible, concrete thing" but in terms of the Palestinian refugees, it did not make very much difference to them because they were just not being allowed to circulate.