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Source: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
24 July 2008

New UNRWA Project Targets the Poorest Refugees in Gaza

UNRWA has initiated additional cash grants to lift the most disadvantaged Palestine refugees out of abject poverty in Gaza. The grants will be distributed between July and December 2008 to 55,000 of the poorest refugees, within the classification by UNRWA as “special hardship cases.” The targeted cash grants are in addition to UNRWA’s food assistance and will give refugee families the flexibility to make purchases according to their own needs. The grants will also give refugees increased access to fresh market produce.

The cash subsidies were made possible by a $6.3million donation from the European Commission, announced in April 2008.

John Ging, Director of Operations in Gaza, said, “With this money, the European Commission is showing a real sense of solidarity with some of the most disadvantaged people in the Gaza Strip. UNRWA is grateful to the Commission and people of Europe for giving us the resources to carry out this essential humanitarian work.”

The EC contribution is especially vital in Gaza, where there are nearly three times as many special hardship cases as in the West Bank and Gazans are faced with unprecedented levels of poverty and prolonged closure.

The new UNRWA project comes at a time of increased poverty in Gaza. 60% of Gazan households cite emergency assistance as a secondary source of income, compared to only 1.6% in the West Bank, and 46% of refugees were unemployed in Gaza as of December 2007. Furthermore, the agricultural sector in Gaza is near collapse and Palestinians throughout the oPt face rapidly increasing food prices.

"The poor people here in Gaza don't feel the benefits of the truce and their living conditions continue to deteriorate as Israel still doesn't allow all kinds of basic goods and food supplies into Gaza," added Ging, noting that just 25% of basic goods are being transferred to the Gaza Strip.

This action is funded by the European Commission

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