Secretary General outraged at shelling of UN building in Gaza

15 January 2009

15 January 2009

New York 

The UN chief Ban Ki-moon says he has expressed "strong protest and outrage" to Israel over the shelling of a United Nations compound in Gaza City.

“I conveyed my strong protest and outrage to the defense minister and the foreign minister and demanded a full explanation," Ban said, adding that he had demanded an investigation into the shelling.

"The defense minister said to me it was a grave mistake and he took it very seriously. He assured me that extra attention will be paid to UN facilities and staff and this will not be repeated."

Israeli shells damaged the international organization‘s headquarters in Gaza City, according to witnesses and UN officials. UN spokesman Chris Gunness says at least three people were wounded.

UNRWA’s warehouses burning in Gaza

UNRWA’s warehouses, containing thousands of tones
of humanitarian aid, go up in flames following Israeli shelling

Background Information

UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions, and financial support has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, deepening poverty and conflict. As a result, the UNRWA General Fund, which supports core essential services and most staffing costs, operates with a large deficit. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large deficits, are funded through separate funding portals. 

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

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