UNRWA strongly condemns second attack on Summer Games locations

28 June 2010

Gaza

Burnt Summer Games installationAt 0230 on Monday 28 June 2010, a group of approximately 25 armed and masked men attacked and set fire to an UNRWA Summer Games recreation facility on the beach in Nuseirat, Gaza. The guards at the facility were physically assaulted and handcuffed but they were not injured. Fortunately no one else was hurt in the incident.

The attack is the second of its kind in a month, following on from an attack on Sunday 23 May 2010 when a group of approximately 30 armed and masked men attacked and set fire to an UNRWA Summer Games recreation facility then under construction on the beach in Gaza City.

UNRWA’s Director of Operations in Gaza, John Ging, condemning this second “cowardly and despicable act”, said that “the overwhelming success of UNRWA’s Summer Games has once again obviously frustrated those that are intolerant of children’s happiness.”

He went on to say that “this is another example of the growing levels of extremism in Gaza and further evidence, if that were needed, of the urgency to change the circumstances on the ground that are generating such extremism.”

Ging said that UNRWA’s response would be simple: “UNRWA will rebuild the camp immediately and will continue with its Summer Games programme which is so important for the physical and psychological wellbeing of Gaza’s children, so many of whom are stressed and traumatised by their circumstances and experiences.” Ging also complimented the emergency services who were quick to respond and ensured that the damage caused by the attack was minimised.

Children at summer gamesUNRWA‘s Summer Games, conducted for the fourth year with the full support and involvement of the community, is the largest recreation programme for Gaza’s children providing a diversified set of activities including sports, swimming, arts and crafts, theatre and drama. The Summer Games commenced on 12 June and will run through 5 August, providing 1,200 summer camps for over 250,000 refugee children across the Gaza Strip.
 

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
Chief of Communications & Arabic Language Spokesperson
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: 
+972 (0)2 589 0724

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