UN, Palestine govt launch humanitarian plan, calling for $705 million in aid

Ahram Online , Thursday 12 Feb 2015

The United Nations office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in collaboration with the Palestinian government has launched a response plan to address the humanitarian needs of 1.6 million Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

The strategic response plan aims to ensure the physical protection of Palestinians, address their forced displacement, provide access to essential services and facilitate their access to food.

To do so, the plan calls for $705 million in humanitarian aid to carry out 207 infrastructure projects. Most of the requested funds target needs in Gaza.

Around 80 percent of the funding is to provide shelter and non-food items and to enhance food security. These projects will be implemented by 77 organisations, including 64 national and international NGOs and 13 UN agencies.

During a press conference in Ramallah on Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister of the State of Palestine, Mohammad Mustafa stated that "the situation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is…deteriorating against the backdrop of political impasse and an increasingly challenging economic and fiscal situation.”

Mustafa said that by addressing the most urgent humanitarian needs, the plan will complete the Palestinian government’s reconstruction plans in Gaza and will aid in stabilising the situation in the West Bank.

Last month, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) suspended their assistance to repair Gaza homes damaged in last year's war with Israel because donors have failed to pay. Donors pledged $5.4 billion to rebuild Gaza at the Cairo aid conference last October but virtually none of the money has yet reached its intended destination.

OCHA Humanitarian Coordinator, James Rawley, said during the launch: “If we lack full donor support for this plan, over 22,000 families could remain displaced. Moreover, up to 1.6 million people in the occupied Palestinian territory would be deprived of adequate water and sanitation services, and food assistance, while access to basic healthcare and education would be compromised.”

Rawley stressed the importance of a solid ceasefire, lifting the blockade and a political solution for the entire Palestinian territory, warning that humanitarian aid would not stop another crisis in the Palestinian territories especially in Gaza.

The Gaza Strip has been subject to three wars in the past six years that have claimed 3,760 lives, including 2,145 in the latest conflict.

Around 100,000 housing units have been destroyed or damaged to varying degrees, including around 20,000 homes in the 2014 violence. More than 100,000 people are still displaced, with about 57,000 living in communal shelters.

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