Days of Palestine, Gaza Strip –The UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) announced Tuesday it halted support for Gaza as donors failed to pay up.
UNRWA said it cannot afford to repair Gaza homes the Israeli occupation destroyed in last year’s war on the coastal enclave because donors have failed to pay their pledges.
“The agency has exhausted all funding to support repairs and rental subsidies,” UNRWA said in a statement.
“$5.4 billion was pledged at the Cairo Conference last October and virtually none of it has reached Gaza. This is distressing and unacceptable,” the statement said.
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“It is unclear why this funding has not been forthcoming,” it added.
UNRWA said that the homes of more than 96,000 Palestine refugees were destroyed or damaged during the conflict. They made up the vast majority of the more than 100,000 homes that were hit during the 51-day war on the Gaza.
“Some funds remain available to begin the reconstruction of the totally destroyed homes.” But it added that cutting subsidies to displaced residents currently renting alternative accommodation could force large numbers back to UN schools and centres that are already sheltering 12,000 people.
“We are talking about thousands of families who continue to suffer through this cold winter with inadequate shelter,” UNRWA statement said. “People are literally sleeping amongst the rubble. Children have died of hypothermia.”
Two babies died in Gaza earlier this month as dozens of homes were flooded in brutal storms that brought freezing rain and gale-force winds.
Gaza’s sole power station, which was damaged during the war, is struggling with a severe lack of fuel because of the Israeli siege continuous for eighth year and is only able to supply the enclave with six hours of power per day.
Israeli occupation killed more than 2,260 Palestinians during the 51-day war and wounded around 11,000 others. About 300,000 civilians became homeless during the war. The number reduced to around 100,000 after halt of the Israeli attacks.