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UN Appeal For Homeless Gaza Palestinians Launched

UN Agency Launches $16 Million Appeal For Homeless Palestinians In Gaza Strip

Citing a "very grave humanitarian crisis," the main United Nations relief agency helping Palestine refugees has appealed for nearly $16 million to meet the immediate cash, food and housing needs of the people of Rafah in the Gaza Strip after Israeli military raids last month left thousands there homeless.

"In the hardest-hit place in the Gaza Strip there are few places to turn for assistance," UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) Commissioner-General Peter Hansen said yesterday.

"Rafah was always a poor place. It is now a devastated place," he added. "Hundreds of destitute families are relying on UNRWA and the international community to come forward and help them cope with a very grave humanitarian crisis."

UNRWA needs $15.84 million to help hundreds of families who have lost their homes, had a breadwinner killed or wounded, or who are in need of ongoing medical care. The agency said 3,500 people lost their residence through demolition or because they were rendered uninhabitable in May alone.

Since the latest Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation started in September 2000, more than 21,000 people have been left homeless in the Gaza Strip. To rehouse all of those still needing shelter in Gaza, UNRWA would need $38.5 million.

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