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Hundreds in Gaza protest reduction in UNRWA services to refugees

Aug. 2, 2015 5:07 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 2, 2015 5:20 P.M.)
A child holds up a poster reading: "We are not beggars! we have rights" (MaanImages/File)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hundreds of Palestinian refugees on Sunday staged a sit-in in front of the UNRWA headquarters in Gaza City to protest a reduction in services provided by the UN agency.

The sit-in was the second Sunday protest in a row, as refugees in Gaza faces cuts to health and educational services.

Protesters waved flags and posters as they chanted slogans slamming the reduction of UN services.

“We want schools! Stop the policy of humiliation and contempt!” the protesters chanted.

A spokesman of a popular committee representing refugees of the Rafah refugee camp, Ziad al-Sarafandi, said in a speech that "Israelis and the West have been working for years to end UNRWA."

The spokesman raised concern for the future of the 1.8 million Palestinians living in the besieged strip if the UN agency is unable to provide basic services.

The Hamas movement last week accused UNWRA of "giving up its role" providing services to refugees.

UNRWA, the largest service provider for Palestinian refugees in the Middle East, has been struggling in recent months to secure donor funding, forcing the agency to scale back its core services, including education, as well as its emergency relief programs.

The agency held an emergency session last week to discuss what they termed as their "most severe financial crisis ever."

Around 80 percent of Gazans depend on foreign aid to meet their basic needs
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