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Mladenov: 'Gaza is on the verge of total collapse'

July 26, 2018 11:57 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 1, 2018 11:46 A.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nikolay Mladenov, said in a statement on Wednesday that the besieged Gaza Strip is on the verge of total economic and social collapse.

Mladenov stressed that half of Gaza’s population suffers from unemployment and that basic services are severely overstretched.

Mladenov welcomed a recommendation by the World Bank’s Board to allocate $90 million, an increase of $55 million from last year, in response to the economic situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, specifically in the Gaza Strip.

“This significant increase in funding comes at a critical time when urgent interventions are required to prevent renewed conflict and to boost Palestinian economic opportunities and livelihoods,” Mladenov stated.

Mladenov added that this allocation will be used in partnership with the Palestinian Authority (PA) “to support key interventions, including job creation through emergency cash-for-work and labor-intensive infrastructure rehabilitation,” pointing out that this type of aid is most needed at the moment.

He continued to reassure that the UN and its partners will continue their efforts “to reduce tensions in Gaza, address urgent humanitarian needs and support a return of the legitimate PA to Gaza through the Egyptian-led intra-Palestinian reconciliation process.”

In addition, Mladenov urged the United States President Donald Trump on Tuesday to reconsider resuming the much needed funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which supports Palestinian refugees.

Mladenov addressed UNRWA’s financial crisis, which at present needs about $217 million to maintain its work throughout 2018, and describing it as a “serious concern.”

In Gaza, where the unemployment is among the highest in the world due to a decade-long Israeli siege on the coastal enclave, almost one million Palestinian refugees are dependent on UNRWA for emergency food assistance -- ten times the amount of refugees that required such support in 2000.

UNRWA also provides education to over 47,000 Palestinian refugees in the war-torn country.

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