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UN: situation in Gaza is "not improving"

Millions of Palestinians are living in precarious conditions and need help to survive, the United Nations said Thursday, as it sought $575 million for them in 2011

AFP, Thursday 2 Dec 2010
Gaza mural
The shadows of Palestinian children are cast against a wall as they play with a ball in front of an anti-Israel mural in Gaza City. (Reuters)
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Millions of Palestinians are living in precarious conditions and need help to survive, the United Nations said Thursday, as it sought $575 million for them in 2011.

Despite recent improvements in the situation in the Gaza Strip, things are "not improving" for the 4.5 million people who live in the Palestinian Territories, said Maxwell Gaylard, UN deputy special coordinator for the Middle East peace process.

This is because of the "continued blockade of Gaza, the occupation itself and the settlements," he said.

Gaylard noted that the easing of the Israeli blockade in June has led to a slight improvement of the situation in the Gaza Strip.

However, three-quarters of Gaza residents are still depending on relief agencies, noted the UN official.

While unemployment has declined somewhat, it remains at "disastrous levels," he said. In the West Bank, the situation is not much better, while in East Jerusalem there is a growing problem of over population.

The UN's appeal for aid financing for the Palestinian Territories was 50 per cent funded, but this year Gaylard hopes donors would be more generous.

If the appeal is not financed, it would have "irreversible" consequences for the process of reconstruction and the quality of life of Palestinians, said Ramesh Rajasingham, an official from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said.

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