6 February 2015
Director UNRWA: ‘international community cannot even provide the bare minimum’ to help people in Gaza
The UN agency tasked with assisting Palestinian refugees across the Middle East announced that a major funding shortfall has forced the suspension of its cash assistance programme that would have helped families in Gaza repair their homes and provide rental subsidies to people left homeless after last year’s conflict.
Announcing the suspension, Robert Turner, the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Director in Gaza said ‘virtually none’ of the funds pledged by donors at an international conference in Cairo last year has reached Gaza. ‘It is unclear why this funding has not been forthcoming,’ he added.
The UNRWA will need some USD 100 million in the first quarter of 2015. Over 96,000 Palestine refugee family homes were damaged or destroyed during last summer’s conflict and overall, USD 720 million is required to address this need. To date, the agency has received only USD 135 million in pledges, leaving a shortfall of USD 585 million.
‘People are desperate and the international community cannot even provide the bare minimum – for example a repaired home in winter – let alone a lifting of the blockade, access to markets or freedom of movement. We’ve said before that quiet will not last, and now the quiet is at risk,’ said Mr. Turner.