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Shortage of building supplies halts UN construction in Gaza

Shortage of building supplies halts UN construction in Gaza

The United Nations agency tasked with helping Palestinian refugees has announced that it has halted construction on all of its building projects in the Gaza Strip because restrictions at the crossing points with Israel have led to a shortage of basic building supplies.

John Ging, the Gaza Director of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), said about $93 million worth of projects are on hold because of the lack of cement and other building materials.

Mr. Ging said it was vital that the crossings between Israel and Gaza resume full operation, rather than just for food aid and medicines, warning that Gaza – which is home to more than 1.4 million people within its 360-square-kilometre area – faces the prospect of a humanitarian and public health crisis.

Mr. Ging also said that the restrictions at the border crossings, which began last month when intra-Palestinian violence erupted in Gaza, have led to a total loss of more than a million days of employment for local Palestinians.

He added that the restrictions were therefore placing an even larger burden on the humanitarian aid programme provided by UN agencies in the Gaza Strip.