The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has appealed for $94 million to carry out emergency relief operations in the occupied Palestinian territory during the first half of next year.
Launching the bid in Jerusalem, the Agency noted that over two years of violence, curfews and closures have had a “catastrophic” impact on the humanitarian conditions of the 1.5 million Palestinian refugees living in the area. Some 22 percent of children are suffering from acute or chronic malnutrition, while unemployment now exceeds 50 percent and over 60 percent of the population is living on less than two dollars a day.
The Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories (UNSCO) estimates that the overall unemployment rate for the West Bank and Gaza Strip during the second quarter of 2002 increased from roughly 36 percent to approximately 50 percent. When the curfews are imposed, unemployment hits 63.3 per cent, while poverty levels have jumped to 70 per cent in the Gaza Strip.
Income losses stand at $7.6 million per day, for a total of almost $3.3 billion since October 2000. Half of the 3.3-million population has had to borrow money to purchase food, while an estimated 1.5 million receive direct food assistance. About 17 percent of households had to sell assets to buy food.
UNWRA was founded in 1950 to assist Palestinian refugees who fled their homeland during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, offers basic health, educational and other relief services to more than 3.5 million refugees living in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )