The third largest of the Gaza Strip’s eight refugee camps – and one of the most crowded – Beach camp is known locally as "Shati". The camp is on the Mediterranean coast in the Gaza City area.
Beach camp initially accommodated 23,000 refugees who fled from Lydd, Jaffa, Be’er Sheva and other areas of Palestine. The camp is now home to more than 87,000 refugees, who all reside in an area of only 0.52 square kilometres.
Streets and alleys in the camp are often very narrow and the area is considered among the most densely populated in the world.
Unemployment has risen considerably since the blockade was imposed on Gaza, making life more difficult for most refugees in Beach camp. Far fewer families can provide for themselves and a huge proportion of the population is dependent on UNRWA’s food and cash assistance.
At the same time, the ban on entry of cement and gravel has made it impossible for refugees to build or repair shelters. Basic hygiene is also of great concern, as 90 per cent of the water is unfit for human consumption.
The Israel Defense Forces’ imposition of a three-mile fishing limit has particularly affected Beach camp. The diminished fishing catch has led to lost livelihoods and increased poverty.
How we help
UNRWA implemented a job creation programme project at the Gaza port which provided hundreds of fisherman with short-term job opportunities: fixing nets, cleaning the area and compiling fishing statistics. Unfortunately, due to funding shortfalls in the Emergency Appeal for 2011, UNRWA was forced to cut support to the fishermen, along with support to other sectors including farmers.
Support the fishermen via the job creation programme.
The Agency has also improved lives through its microfinance programme. Saleh Farahat started a sugarcane and natural fruit juice shop in Beach camp in 2005 with a loan of US$ 600 from UNRWA. He now has US$ 7,000 in capital and says: “I am now able to provide much better living conditions for my family. By getting several loans from UNRWA, I was able to expand my shop by purchasing new equipment and appliances and I even plant and harvest my own sugarcane.”
- Move than 87,000 registered refugees
- 16 school buildings running on double shifts to accommodate 32 schools. UNRWA also uses a Palestinian Authority school building for one school in the afternoon.
- One food distribution centre
- One health centre
- Demographic profile:
Programmes in the camp
- Electricity cuts
- High unemployment
- Three-mile fishing limit
- High population density
- Contaminated water supply
- Lack of availability of construction materials