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United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
7 June 2006
Press Release No. FO/G/01/2006
7 June 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Gaza situation "deplorable and getting worse"
says UNRWA Gaza Director
While public attention is focused on the political and security situation in the Gaza Strip, John Ging, UNRWA’s Gaza Field Director, warned today that many vital public services are in danger of collapsing if a funding solution is not found. Following an intensive week of field visits, he described the general living conditions of the Palestine refugees in Gaza as “deplorable and getting worse.”
The cutoff of direct assistance to the local authorities is now taking its toll. Without money, the local authorities have been unable to pay salaries or any other bill for three months and now their suppliers, themselves in debt, cannot afford to extend credit for much longer.
“In every municipality I have visited this week the situation is the same,” Ging reported, “Garbage trucks are sitting idle while rubbish piles up, sewage treatment plants are struggling to remain operational, fuel for water pumps is running out and mosquito infestation is out of control in many areas as there is no money to purchase expensive pesticides.’
“We urgently need to get the funding mechanism, promised by the Quartet a month ago, operational now”, Ging said. “Without this, the banks are prohibited from handling donor contributions destined for public services.
As part of the revised United Nations Consolidated Appeal for the occupied Palestinian territory, UNRWA has doubled its own emergency appeal in an effort to meet the surge in demand for relief services. In Gaza, UNRWA is prepared to add 23,000 new refugee families to its food distribution programme and needs extra funding to tackle the 100,000 person waiting list for its job creation programme.