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

Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 68.2 million.

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