UNRWA provides 1,842 refugee families in Gaza with support for reconstruction and repair works

12 February 2016
Palestinians inspect the remains of a house which was destroyed during an air strike in Central Bureij refugee camp, in the Middle Area of the Gaza Strip, 15 July 2014. © 2014 UNRWA Photo by Shareef Sarhan

UNRWA was able to disburse approximately US$ 7.1 million in funding available for reconstruction (US$ 2.8 million) and severe repair works (US$ 4.3 million). The funds will reach a total of 1,842 refugee families across the Gaza Strip. The families will be able to access this assistance through local banks next week.

Emergency shelter – including support for home repairs, reconstruction and interim shelter solutions – is a top priority for UNRWA. The Agency remains committed to supporting affected families yet requires new funding to continue the shelter cash assistance programme.

Overview of assistance disbursed

  • The UNRWA shelter assessment confirmed 141,559 Palestine refugee houses as impacted during the 2014 conflict; 9,117 of them are considered totally demolished. 5,355 shelters have suffered severe, 3,700 major and 123,387 minor damages.
  • Since the start of the 2014 emergency shelter response, the Agency has distributed over US$ 151.4 million (excluding Programme Support Costs) to Palestine refugee families whose homes were damaged or demolished during the 2014 summer conflict.
  • UNRWA has completed the payments to over 66,300 Palestine refugee families – more than half of the caseload – for minor repair works, to 1,515 families to repair their severely damaged shelters, to 12 families for major repair works and to 41 families for reconstruction. Payment transfers are ongoing for over 12,380 refugee families to continue repair works of their shelters and for 483 families to continue the reconstruction of their shelters. 
  • A total of 13,250 families received a rental subsidy payment to cover the period from September to December 2014. Disbursement of subsequent instalments entailed further eligibility checks through which over 9,900 families have received the relevant rental subsidy payments during the period from January to December 2015.

Funding gaps and needs

  • Due to lack of funding, as of 10 February 2016, over 60,300 refugee families have not received any payments to undertake repair works for their minor-damaged homes (estimated total repair costs: US$ 68.2 million). Furthermore, 3,200 families have not received any payments to repair or start repairing their major-damaged homes (estimated total repair costs: US$ 28.8 million), 1,850 families have not received payments to repair or start repairing their severely damaged homes (estimated total repair costs: US$ 16.6 million). Out of these, UNRWA has processed the documents of over 45,500 families with damaged shelters and could disburse payments to these families immediately upon receipt of funding.
  • Over 17 months after the ceasefire, 6,876 refugee families have not received any payments to start repairing their totally demolished homes; the total cost of reconstructing their homes amounts to approximately US$ 309.42 million.
  • Due to lack of sufficient funding, approximately 8,000 refugee families displaced by the 2014 conflict have not received transitional shelter cash assistance (TSCA) in 2016. The US$ 23.3 million in TSCA needed to assist the 2014 conflict emergency caseload in 2016 was included in the 2016 oPt Emergency Appeal.

Background Information

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA Programme Budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall,  projected for 2016 to stand at US$ 74 million. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, 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 and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance .

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: 
+972 (0)2 589 0267
Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: 
+972 (0)2 589 0724
Najwa Sheikh Ahmad
Acting Public Information Officer - Gaza Field Office
Mobile: 
+972 597 920 542
Office: 
+972 8 2887 488

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