UNRWA Mourns Loss of Ninth Staff in Gaza

03 August 2014
UNRWA

Gaza

For the third time in less than six years, violence is devastating the Gaza Strip. Along with the rest of the people of Gaza, staff members of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) are in the line of fire. Since 20 July 2014, nine UNRWA staff members have been killed, humanitarian workers struck down by the pitiless conflict.

“These were people who had dedicated years or decades to serving the Palestine refugees of Gaza”, said UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl. “Many of them were educators, inculcating in children the hope of a brighter future and supporting them through the most difficult of times. Another, despite being displaced himself, worked to help other displaced families in the UNRWA school in Jabalia. The cruel ways in which they lost their lives has devastated families they leave behind and all of us in UNRWA.”

The UNRWA staff members are: Fatma A Rahim Abu Amouna, 54, a teacher; Inas Shaban Derbas, 30, a teacher; Mohammed A Raouf Al-Dadda, 39, a teacher; Ismail A. Qader El-Kujk, 53, an environmental-health worker; Farid Mohamed Mohamed Ahmed, 50, a teacher; Ahmed Mohamed Mohamed Ahmed, 51, a school principal; Munir Ibrahim El Hajjar, a relief and social services programme staff member; Medhat Ahmed Al Amoudi, 53, a labourer, and Abdallah Naser Khalil Fahajan, 21, a school attendant.

Robert Turner, Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza, said: “The loss of these nine people is a tragedy that cannot be forgotten. They faced all the challenges affecting Gaza and yet remained determined to support people in desperate circumstances. In the truest sense of the word, they were humanitarians, and their loss is a terrible blow to their families, to Gaza and to UNRWA.”

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$ 56 million.

For more information, please contact:

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
Office: 
+972 (0)2 589 0724

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