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An uncertain future: Visiting the families remaining in UNRWA shelters
It is very different from the days during last summer’s conflict and the following months, when thousands of internally-displaced persons (IDPs) lived in overcrowded conditions – sharing toilets, kitchens and classrooms while trying to maintain a sense of privacy and dignity by dividing classrooms with hanging blankets. Only three families are left living in the UNRWA collective centre in Rimal, Gaza city. Yet their future is uncertain.
“It is hard to accept that one classroom is the place where you and your family are expected to sit, eat, play and sleep for an unknown period of time,” said 34-year-old refugee Hazar Abu Jazar.
Hazar’s comment reflects the feelings of many of the over 3,560 IDPs still living in the remaining eight UNRWA-run collective centres. Due to a serious lack of funds, as of 18 May, over 61,000 refugee families who have been assessed as eligible for assistance have still not received rental subsidy payments, the first or second payment installments for home repairs, or a US$ 500 reintegration grant.
“I am tired of living in a classroom; I need my life to back. The war ruined my life, stole my peace, my dignity and my stability,” Hazar added.
UNRWA calls on donors to fulfil the promises made at the Cairo Conference for reconstruction of Gaza in October 2014. To date, US$ 216 million has been pledged in support of the UNRWA emergency shelter programme, compared with the required total of US$ 720 million. This leaves a current shortfall of US$ 504 million.
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