UNRWA lifts suspension of aid imports into Gaza

09 February 2009

Press statement by Christopher Gunnes UNRWA Spokesperson

9 February 2009

East Jerusalem

The Hamas authorities in Gaza have returned to the UNRWA warehouses in Gaza City and Rafah all of the aid supplies confiscated on 03 and 05 February. UNRWA will now  lift the suspension on the import of its humanitarian supplies into Gaza,   which went into effect on 05 February.

However, the Agency’s food distribution operation to 900,000 refugees continues to be jeopardized by the decision of the Israeli government to refuse entry of the three truck loads of nylon pellets for making the plastic bags in which the food is distributed.  The only available bags are those on the local market.

UNRWA has also been denied approval to bring into Gaza 12 truck loads of bulk paper to print books, including its human rights textbooks for the second semester which started two weeks ago.  The Agency has also been prevented from importing 5 trucks of exercise books for some 200,000 children. Sixty per cent of children in UNRWA are without their full complement of textbooks.

ENDS

Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
Mobile: +972-(0)54-240-2659
Office: +972-(0)2-589-0267

Sami Mshasha
UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson
Mobile: +972-(0)54-216-8295

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$ 70.5 million.

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