Khan Younis Camp

Khan Younis refugee camp is located about two kilometres from the Mediterranean coast, north of Rafah. It lies west of the town of Khan Younis, a major commercial centre and stop-off point on the ancient trade route to Egypt.

After the 1948 war, 35,000 refugees took shelter in the camp, having fled their homes during the hostilities. Most were from the Be’er Sheva area. Today, Khan Younis camp is home to nearly 84,325 refugees.

Khan Younis camp. © 2016 UNRWA Photo by Tamer Hamam
Khan Younis camp. © 2016 UNRWA Photo by Tamer Hamam
Blockade

Life for nearly all refugees in the camp is more difficult because of the blockade of Gaza, with much higher unemployment. Fewer families can provide for themselves, leaving a staggering proportion of the population dependent on UNRWA food and cash assistance. Ninety per cent of the camp’s water is unfit for human consumption, so basic hygiene is another big concern.

Reconstruction

Over the years, many of the refugees living in Khan Younis lost their shelters due to conflict. Prior to the imposition of the blockade, UNRWA had commenced a significant re-housing project to accommodate all those who had lost their shelters. However, the blockade prevented UNRWA from bringing in construction materials to complete the project, leaving thousands of people without permanent shelters.

UNRWA only received permission in 2010 to bring in the materials to complete a number of housing units for refugees whose shelters were demolished years ago. UNRWA estimates that it must construct a minimum of 10,000 shelters to rehouse refugees currently living in unacceptable conditions and/or who have lost their homes as a result of the conflict.

Major problems

Overcrowdedness, a shortage of suitable housing, high unemployment rates, a limited and unreliable electricity supply, and inadequate access to water are some of the challenges facing refugees living in Khan Younis camp. 

REFUGEE CAMPS IN the Gaza Strip

We provide services in 8 Palestine refugee camps in the Gaza Strip. UNRWA does not administer or police the camps, as this is the responsibility of the host authorities.

Quick Facts

Refugees in camps

Nearly 84,325 registered refugees live in Khan Younis camp

Official camps

Khan Younis camp was established in 1948 to shelter around 35,000 refugees

Unrwa In Khan Younis Camp

Schools

UNRWA runs 20 schools in the camp; 12 on a single shift and eight on double shifts

Health Centre

Three health centres provide primary health services, including reproductive health and infant and child care, to refugees in the camp

Two UNRWA students from Gaza enjoy recess in their first day of school. © 2017 UNRWA Photo by Rushdi Al-Saraj
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