WASHINGTON, April 24 (KUNA) - The United Nations Palestinian refugees agency (UNRWA) launched Wednesday an appeal for USD 1.21 billion to address the unprecedented humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip and respond to needs in the West Bank.
"The scars of war are seen on a massive scale in Gaza. Meanwhile violence is increasing in the West Bank," UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini said in a statement.
"It is critical to support UNRWA in providing lifesaving humanitarian assistance and development services in health and education." The Agency's emergency appeal covers the Agency's humanitarian response until the end of this year.
It aims to respond to the most urgent needs of 1.7 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip given the ongoing war, and more than 200,000 Palestine Refugees in the West Bank, including the occupied East Jerusalem.
Lazzarini pointed out that the past months proved that there is no replacement or alternative to UNRWA.
As the largest humanitarian organisation in the Gaza Strip, UNRWA is the backbone of the aid operation there, managing shelters with more than 1 million people, distributing food, providing primary healthcare, and coordinating the logistics for the humanitarian deliveries.
The priority for UNRWA is to bring in much needed supplies including food into Gaza where the population has become almost entirely dependent on handouts and relief assistance.
"This war should not become the new norm as we get into another sad milestone: 200 long days of brutality, loss, despair and anxiety," said Lazzarini.
"All efforts must be exerted to reach a long overdue ceasefire. Until then, much more support must come to UNRWA to allow us to respond to vast and growing humanitarian needs." (end) amm.ibi