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UNICEF Needs $8.2 Million for Palestine Operations

UNICEF Urgently Needs $8.2 Million for Its Operations in Palestinian Territories

New York, Jul 8 2005 12:00PM

With only 36 per cent of funding so far received for its operations in the occupied Palestinian territory, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said today it urgently needed $8.2 million for health services, educational and psychosocial support for youngsters there.

Although a gradual easing of restrictions by Israel and a reduction in the use of lethal force has been observed in the West Bank and Gaza since February, resulting in a marked decline in the number of deaths and injuries of children, their rights continue to be challenged in terms of access to health and quality education services.

Children have few opportunities for recreational activities, and for leading normal lives. Ironically, the increased calm has meant that children are playing closer to formerly restricted areas, exposing themselves to the very real danger of unexploded ordnance, UNICEF added in its latest update.

Emergency contingency plans by UNICEF in coordination with other UN agencies and non-government organization (NGO) partners in preparation for Israel’s planned withdrawal from Gaza and parts of the West Bank provides for pre-positioning of supplies in health, water and sanitation, education as well as adolescent programmes.

“After more than four years of conflict and continuous violence, children are still living with distress and continue to be vulnerable,” the agency said, referring to the youngsters’ psychosocial well-being. “The chronic anxiety, undermined self-esteem and feelings of loss of control being felt due to the erosion of households' coping mechanisms adversely affect family relationships.”

From January to end-June, 9,000 children in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank attended debriefing sessions with the teams of trained psychologists and social workers, aimed at reinforcing their capacity to cope with distress.

UNICEF's original $12,720,884 appeal for 2005 has been increased to $14.2 million. To date, about $5.1 million has been received.


ENDS

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