UNRWA mourns loss of ninth staff in 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.”
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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