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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
31 August 2010


Egypt: Rafah Crossing to Gaza remains open

Egypt keeps the Rafah border terminal with the Gaza Strip open to allow delivery of humanitarian aid and allow Palestinians to cross the border both into and out of Egypt.

Between the opening of the crossing 1 June - a day after Israel’s fatal raid on an aid flotilla in open sea - and the end of August, at least 65,253 Palestinians have crossed the Rafah terminal both ways and about 475 tons of aid materials have entered Gaza, according to the Government of Egypt.

Donations from various organizations includes blankets, covers, electrical generators and tents, as well as 446 tons of food items, seven ambulances and five cars. Egyptian Red Crescent reported on 13 August that it had delivered, in collaboration with ICRC, 3 tons of medical supplies to Al Shefah hospital in Gaza.

Gaza: Social Safety Net Programme for the most vulnerable

Every second refugee in the camps in Gaza is food insecure, according to statistics released by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

Overall, 44 percent of all refugees in Gaza are deemed food insecure. Over the past eight years, food insecurity has increased to 39 percent in urban areas and 29 percent in rural communities. The Israeli blockade and restrictions on imports have led to hikes in food prices, shrinking incomes and triggered unprecedented rates of poverty (80 percent) and unemployment (46 percent).

Poor households with high unemployment rates, many children and vulnerable dependents are those at high risk food insecurity.

Concerned about the growing numbers in the Gaza Strip, UNRWA is stepping up its efforts to assist the poorest of the Palestinian refugees in the Strip. To ensure that only the poorest receive assistance, UNRWA has reformed its food aid programme switching from an intervention based on family status to a needs-based approach.

The reformed UNRWA assistance programme (the Social Safety Net - SSN) includes two components: a food package (fortified flour, sugar, cooking oil, milk powder and rice) and a cash component to allow destitute families to buy other basic necessities. Last year, the combined value of the assistance was on average $124 per person.

The SSN programme is implemented in other UNRWA’s field operations (Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and the West Bank). In 2009 more than 300,000 Palestine refugees benefited from it.

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