OPT: UNRWA launches emergency appeal for 2010 at the League of Arab States in Cairo

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CAIRO, 14 Dec 2009 - UNRWA launched its Emergency Appeal for 2010 at a meeting of the League of Arab States on 14 of December. The appeal is a response to the continued and protracted crisis in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) and targets the most vulnerable refugees in the oPt, in particular the population of Gaza and those communities in the West Bank most affected by closures and access restrictions.

The past 12 months have seen an intensification of the crisis in the oPt, with lives and livelihoods ravaged by a combination of Israeli-imposed restrictions on access and movement and persistent conflict. The year began with Israel's military offensive in Gaza, which resulted in death and destruction on a massive scale. The humanitarian crisis in the Strip was compounded by the ongoing siege on Gaza's borders. This blockade has had devastating consequences on all aspects of life for the 1.4 million people trapped in Gaza. While the residents of Gaza continue to suffer severe shortages of basic goods and building materials, they remain unable to rebuild their lives, communities and economy.

The past 12 months have also witnessed further fragmentation of West Bank territory and segregation of the Palestinian population that has gone hand in hand with the illegal consolidation and expansion of Israeli settlements. For many Palestinians in the West Bank, access to economic resources and basic services continues to be severely restricted, and opportunities for sustainable growth and development limited.

Palestine refugees, who account for around 40 percent of the total population of the oPt and more than two-thirds in Gaza, continue to suffer the worst impacts of the crisis. They typically endure higher levels of poverty, unemployment and food insecurity than non-refugees.

UNRWA is appealing for over US$323,000,000 which will be used to fund a range of programmes including job creation, education, emergency health and mental health and community mental health as well as a protection programme. Launching the appeal, UNRWA Commissioner-General, Karen AbuZayd, emphasised that funds from the appeal will allow UNRWA to make direct interventions in response to the most acute needs.

"With this appeal, UNRWA will undertake a combination of direct humanitarian relief and protection activities, to help ensure security for the most vulnerable communities and individuals in the territory."

For further information please contact:

Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
Mobile: +972-(0)54-240-2659
Office: +972-(0)2-589-0267

Peter Ford
Representative of UNRWA Commissioner-General
Mobile: 00962776760062
Office: 0096265808521

Dahoud Dawas. Head of UNRWA Cairo office. 0020177909799