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UNRWA provides $5 million in Gaza reconstruction aid

April 6, 2016 7:00 P.M. (Updated: April 7, 2016 1:01 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The UN agency for Palestinian refugees said Wednesday it has disbursed $5 million for reconstruction and serious repair works in the beleaguered Gaza Strip.

UNRWA said the funds would benefit 720 refugee families, which would be able to access the financial assistance through local banks.

The agency said emergency shelter remained one of its top priorities, but it required new funding to continue its shelter cash assistance program.

UNRWA has faced a severe financial crisis in recent years, particularly due to the 2014 Gaza war, which totally destroyed 12,600 homes and left another 6,500 severely damaged and 150,000 housing units uninhabitable.

"The conflict led to a homelessness crisis in Gaza, with almost 500,000 persons displaced at its peak," the agency said. "Thousands remain displaced to this day."

Last month saw dozens of Palestinians gather before UNRWA's offices in the southern Gazan city of Rafah to protest a perceived lack of support for refugees affected by Israel's 2014 offensive.

One official with the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) condemned the UN agency's "ongoing evasion of their responsibilities towards Palestinian refugees, who face dire conditions under the crippling Israeli siege."

UNRWA has said it requires a total of $720 million for its emergency shelter program, but donor countries have pledged only $247 million.
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