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UNRWA: 80 percent of Gazans dependent on humanitarian assistance

July 5, 2016 9:37 P.M. (Updated: July 6, 2016 6:26 P.M.)
(File)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- UNRWA distributed thousands of meals to Palestinian refugees in the besieged Gaza Strip during the holy month of Ramadan, the agency said in a statement on Tuesday, adding that 80 percent of the population in Gaza were dependent on humanitarian assistance.

Following the financial assistance given by Emirates-based Khalid Bin al-Nahyan Foundation, UNRWA, the UN agency responsible for providing aid to Palestinian refugees, was able to distribute 9,809 hot meals for 26,557 Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip, the statement said.

Vulnerable Palestinian refugees, defined by the agency as those making less that $1.47 a day and without access to meals during Ramadan, were provided coupons that allowed them to access their meals from 20 community-based organizations operating throughout the small enclave.

The food program was implemented under an UNRWA program called “Feeding the Fasting,” aimed at easing food security in the small Palestinian territory during the month of Ramadan.

The statement also highlighted the crippling economic effects of Israel’s near decade-long siege, which has plummeted the unemployment rate to a startling 41.2 percent in the beginning of 2016, according the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics.

UNRWA reported that the number of Gaza residents who receive food aid from the organization has seen a staggering increase from over 15 years ago.

“While in the year 2000, UNRWA provided approximately 80,000 refugees in Gaza with food assistance, this number has increased to more than 930,000 today -- almost 70 per cent of the refugee population and over 50 per cent of the total population,” the statement added. 

The majority of the more than 1.8 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are sealed inside the coastal enclave due to the continuation of a military blockade imposed by Israel and upheld by Egypt on the southern border.

The UN has warned that the Gaza Strip would become uninhabitable for residents by 2020, pointing to the devastation of war and the crippling effects of Israel's blockade.
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