UN emergency feeding agency extends operations in Palestinian territories
With continuing violence and conflict in the Palestinian territories further undermining the lives and livelihoods of the population, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today announced that it will extend its emergency operations there for a further 12 months, increasing its aid by more than a third.
“What is left today is not a viable economy. These are people who are struggling to survive,” WFP country director Jean-Luc Siblot said, noting that for the past four years Palestinians had been affected by continuing political instability, Israeli military incursions, curfews, house demolitions, and a “closure policy” with over 600 checkpoints preventing many from reaching their work or schools.
The rapidly deteriorating economic situation has been further complicated by the construction of a 185-kilometre separation barrier which Israel says it needs to keep out suicide bombers but which the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ruled illegal.
Under the new operation WFP will provide $41 million worth of relief food – up from $29 million – to nearly half a million people facing severe hardship.
According to a vulnerability assessment in April, an estimated 38 per cent of the population lacks sufficient food while a further 26 per cent is at risk. Within the Gaza Strip alone, food insecurity rates reached as high as 66 per cent in Rafah, 56 per cent in Jabalia and 40 per cent in Khan Younis.