The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has launched an emergency appeal to the international community asking for $193 million to relieve some of the suffering in the Palestinian occupied territories for 2004.
Three years of curfews, closures and conflict in the West Bank and Gaza have plunged two-thirds of the population into poverty, increased hunger and restricted access to health and education. The Agency needs the funds to continue operating the largest food aid program in the West Bank and Gaza, feeding over one million people, and to provide shelter to the homeless, counseling for traumatized children, additional medical services and crucial work programs for the unemployed.
A critical element of the programme will be the provision of help to the tens of thousands of refugees whose livelihoods are threatened by the construction of the West Bank barrier. UNRWA will continue to monitor the impact of the wall/fence on refugees –- already the first phase has affected 90,000 refugees –- and adapt its humanitarian responses through the year.
To assist the very poor, UNRWA plans to spend $62 million on creating 2.3 million workdays for unemployed refugees through direct and indirect-hire job schemes. These give unemployed breadwinners the diginity of supporting their families, while allowing them to improve the infrastructure of their communities.
UNRWA will also spend $55 million in 2004 on basic food commodities. The Agency will target 222,000 refugee families, who have been identified by the Agency’s relief workers as too poor to provide for all their own needs. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )