Cash-strapped UNWRA cuts Palestinian programs
The latest appeal for emergency funds for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has raised barely 45 percent of the refugees' needs, forcing program cutbacks, the agency reported.
In the Gaza Strip, "Israeli demolitions have left almost 12,700 homeless," said an UNWRA news release. Funding shortages and difficulties sourcing land and transporting building materials meant that UNRWA has only been able to open only 228 replacement shelters, with another 250 in the pipeline.
"The Agency estimates that it will cost over $46 million to re-house all the Palestinian refugees who have lost their homes to date - and every day more become homeless," said the agency.
More than 60 per cent of Palestinian refugees are living on two dollars a day, or less, while chronic and acute malnutrition among children reached 25 percent in some areas. UNWRA is feeding more than one million refugees in Gaza and the West Bank, but the agency has had to halve its food distribution.
According to UNWRA, cash assistance to the very poorest people in the first half of 2002 was cut to $950,000 from $3.4 million in the Gaza Strip and to $2,600 from $3.3 million in the West Bank. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)