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The Italian Government supports the safety of Palestine refugees in Gaza through outreach activities on unexploded ordnances
After the summer hostilities of 2014, more than 7,000 explosive remnants of war (ERW) are estimated to remain in the Gaza Strip. Although 42 per cent of ERW (2,953 ERW items) have been identified and destroyed, the remaining 58 per cent continue to pose a threat to the population living in Gaza, particularly to children and adults who work on agricultural land potentially contaminated by ERW. According to the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS), to date 16 people have been killed and 97 injured, including 48 children, due to contact with ERWs.
With a generous contribution of EUR 250,000 (US$ 272,617) approved by the Italian Directorate General for Development Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Palestine refugees will benefit from outreach activities on safety and risk education on ERWs. This project, implemented by UNRWA with guidance from UNMAS, will continue awareness-raising activities to reduce the risk posed by ERWs in the Gaza Strip.
Thanks to the contribution from the Italian government, UNRWA will provide training to front-line staff, including teachers, as well as social workers and engineers. They will be trained by UNRWA on how to recognize, demarcate and signal the presence of ERW safely. This will ensure that staff are equipped to pass on ERW risk awareness to the refugee community, in particular to students attending UNRWA schools.
UNRWA will also produce promotional materials to raise awareness on this topic, such as printed materials for distribution in UNRWA facilities, including schools, health centres and distribution centres. In addition to UNMAS ERW awareness films, which have been broadcast on UNRWA TV – the UNRWA satellite television (TV) channel - since during the 2014 conflict, UNRWA TV will produce short films to raise awareness on the correct procedures for identifying and safely responding to ERW; to raise awareness among children directly, these new productions will include creative educational multimedia programmes such as drama, animation and interactive learning productions.
The educational films will be broadcast on UNRWA TV and its YouTube channel in September 2016, benefiting Palestine refugees at risk in and outside of Gaza.
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. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s programme budget. 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 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem 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.
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