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Over half of Gazans rely on food assistance: UNRWA

6 July 2016 14:11

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A United Nations (UN) agency says more than half of the population in the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip is in dire need of food assistance.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) made the announcement in a statement on Tuesday.

“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 UN agency said.

The agency further said that it distributed 9,809 hot meals among 26,557 Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip during the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

The food program was carried out under a program called “Feeding the Fasting” and meant to provide food security in the Palestinian enclave throughout Ramadan.

The UN body pointed to the crippling effects of Israel’s blockade on the Gaza Strip, warning that the sliver would become uninhabitable by 2020 if the current situation persists.

The Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip has been in effect since 2007, and caused a decline in the standards of living, unprecedented levels of unemployment, and unrelenting poverty.

The Israeli regime denies about 1.8 million people in Gaza their basic rights, such as freedom of movement, proper job, and adequate healthcare and education.


A 58-year-old Palestinian man fills a jerrycan with spring water in Salfit, north of Ramallah, where some of the West Bank village’s inhabitants have been without water for days, June 23, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

The UNRWA statement came as Israel cut water supplies to key areas in the occupied West Bank during the fasting month of Ramadan, leaving tens of thousands of Palestinians without safe drinking water amid scorching heat.

The British daily The Independent reported that more than 40,000 people — among them 16,000 refugees — were affected in the northern West Bank city of Jenin, several villages around the city of Nablus, situated approximately 49 kilometers (30 miles) north of al-Quds (Jerusalem), as well as the city of Salfit and its surrounding villages.

Palestinian teenager shot in West Bank

In a separate development, Israeli military forces have shot and injured a Palestinian teenage girl after accusing her of attempting to stab a soldier outside the illegal settlement of Ariel.

An unnamed Israeli army spokesperson said no Israelis were injured in the incident, and the teenager, identified as 17-year-old Jamileh Daoud Hasan Jaber, was later detained by the Israeli forces.


A member of Israeli forces aims her weapon at Palestinian protesters during clashes in the village of Kfar Qaddum, near Nablus, in the occupied West Bank, June 24, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

The occupied Palestinian territories have been the scene of heightened tensions since August 2015, when Israel imposed restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East al-Quds.

Palestinians are angry at increasing violence by Israeli settlers at the mosque, saying the Tel Aviv regime seeks to change the status quo of the sacred site.

More than 220 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces since the beginning of last October.

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