NEW YORK, Responding to the 2016 Emergency Appeal for help for the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), the Government of Italy has donated EUR 1 million (US$ 1.087 million) to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

The assistance will allow UNRWA to provide a decent standard of living and ensure universal access to basic education for Palestine refugees in Gaza.

More than two years after the 2014 hostilities, recurrent conflict and the almost decade-long Israeli blockade of Gaza have led to a situation where a growing and vulnerable population needs assistance more than ever.

Palestine refugees, who make up approximately 70 per cent of the population of Gaza, have come to rely increasingly both on UNRWA core services and emergency assistance to meet their basic needs.

As of June 2016, the UNRWA shelter assessment had confirmed that 142,071 Palestine refugee houses were impacted during the conflict, of which 9,117 were completely destroyed and over 5,000 were severely damaged.

Given this context, the funds will support UNRWA shelter interventions in Gaza, where approximately 2,330 Palestine refugee families will receive transitional shelter cash assistance (TSCA) for one month.

"This contribution from Italy will enable UNRWA to support dignified temporary shelter options for more than 2,000 Palestinian refugee families in Gaza. This is especially important now that winter, which accompanies heavy rains, cold temperatures and periodic flooding, is just around the corner. It will also support the provision of quality education for Palestine refugees, an achievement that Palestine refugees in Gaza are particularly proud of," said Bo Schack, Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza.

Italy has long been one of the Agency's most reliable donors. In 2016, Italy contributed EUR 10.35 million (US$ 11.39 million) to UNRWA, including EUR 6.6 million (US$ 7.37 million) for the Agency's core programmes and services.

Source: Emirates News Agency