July and August 2002 saw a continuation of the violence that has affected the region now for almost two years. During the reporting period in Gaza and the West Bank 137 Palestinians were killed and 1040 injured during clashes with the Israelis. New economic figures for the West Bank and Gaza demonstrate a rapid deterioration in the state of the Palestinian economy with a negative impact on employment.1 Unemployment rates in both the West Bank and Gaza rose over the second quarter of 2002 from 36 percent to approximately 50%. Poverty rates (based on two dollars or less per day) are now at 55 percent in the West Bank and 70 percent in the Gaza Strip. In August Ms Catherine Bertini, was appointed as the Secretary-General's Personal Humanitarian Envoy and traveled to the region. Her mission concluded that there was a ". . .serious and mounting humanitarian crisis in the West Bank and Gaza."2 The deteriorating situation within the occupied territories makes UNRWA's emergency response all the more important.
UNRWA continued its emergency operations during July and August against a background of persistent closures, restrictions on movement and continuing cycles of violence and insecurity. After the Israeli military reoccupied the West Bank in late June, UNRWA's work has been hampered even more, simply because so many of its employees have again been confined to their homes. For example, in July, 1,453 employees (out of 3,545 regular staff members), the residents of 20 cities, villages and refugee camps were under curfew from two to 31 days. At a time when Palestinians are most in need of UNRWA's assistance, the Agency's ability to deliver services has been compromised. As of 31 August only 48.4 percent of UNRWA's 2002 Emergency Appeal has been pledged with only 56.6 percent of this amount actually received. The amount received therefore is only 27.4 percent of total requirements of the emergency program.
1 UNSCO 29 August 2002.
2 C. Bertini, Personal Humanitarian Envoy of the Secretary-General, Mission report, 11-19 August 2002