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Source: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
8 December 2005



For the sixth consecutive year, UNRWA is appealing to donors to fund an emergency programme for the occupied Palestinian territory. In spite of the disengagement of Israeli settlers and army from the Gaza Strip, and an overall significant decline in levels of violence and destruction of property during 2005, the Agency has yet to see any improvement in key humanitarian indicators. Poverty rates increased in 2005 compared to (1) 2004 , and the access regime, in spite of a short-lived improvement in Gaza during the second quarter of the year, remains largely unchanged with the exception of internal movement within the Gaza Strip as a result of disengagement. In some important respects, such as access to health for Palestinian residents of the oPt, conditions may even have worsened lately.

As the World Bank and others have repeatedly noted, increased donor spending within this policy environment cannot be expected to achieve long-term results. The maintenance of appropriate levels of humanitarian assistance is therefore crucial to sustain the population until developments in the peace process can hopefully bring about an easing of the closure regime. In this context, UNRWA's five-year old emergency programme has allowed refugees to concentrate their limited resources on other essential needs. Reducing humanitarian assistance will put extreme stress on these already over-stretched resources and increase already serious poverty. Likewise, it is hard to see how a reduction in humanitarian aid can have positive consequences for popular support for further steps towards peace and stability, within a climate of law and order.

In order to direct fundraising energies on the most basic requirements of sustaining the refugee community in the interim, UNRWA has distilled its Emergency Appeal for 2006 to focus on measures which provide temporary relief to the poverty which the closure regime has wrought. This will be achieved through an emphasis on offering sources of income to refugee households through temporary employment opportunities, limited cash assistance and a programme of emergency food distribution to combat food insecurity.

This Appeal document provides a brief overview of developments during 2005 and sets out the humanitarian context to the programme. Project sheets provide an overview of interventions proposed in temporary employment, food assistance, cash assistance, mobile health clinics and operations support.

Full report (pdf* format - 985 KB)

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