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UNRWA strongly condemns second attack on Summer Games locations
At 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.
UNRWA‘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.
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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