UN agency launches $300 million appeal for Gaza, West Bank

Needs in Gaza ‘remain widespread, acute’

GAZA CITY - The UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA on Tuesday launched a $300 million appeal for the West Bank and Gaza, saying needs in Gaza in particular "remain widespread and acute."
The agency said it would devote three-quarters of the total appeal to Gaza, and that 80 percent of the funds would go to promoting "food security, through food assistance, cash assistance and job creation programmes."
UNRWA'S Deputy Commissioner-General Margot Ellis said Palestinians in Gaza continue to suffer the consequences of Israel's December 2008-January 2009 Operation Cast Lead.
"The effects of the war still persist today and the humanitarian needs of the women, men and children of Gaza remain widespread and acute," she said at the Gaza launch of the appeal.
She said Gaza requires "dozens more schools and thousands of homes," with construction hampered by Israel's blockade on the coastal territory.
"Three years on, UNRWA calls on the international community to work with the relevant parties to ease further the restrictions, give swifter approval for more projects and put an end to the blockade," she said.
UNRWA expects to spend one quarter of the appeal funds in the West Bank, where Ellis said "forced displacements, settlement expansion, and settler violence are taking a devastating toll."