UNITED NATIONS, May 13 (Xinhua) -- The UN Palestinian refugee agency, UNRWA, warned on Monday that its ability to continue providing food to more than 1 million Palestine refugees in the Gaza Strip will be severely challenged, if it cannot secure at least an additional 60 million U.S. dollars by June.
In a report of UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the agency said that currently more than half the population in Gaza depends on food aid from the international community.
From fewer than 80,000 Palestine refugees receiving UNRWA social assistance in Gaza in the year 2000, there are today 1 million people who need emergency food assistance without which they cannot get through their day, said the report.
"This is a near ten-fold increase caused by the blockade that lead to the closure of Gaza and its disastrous impact on the local economy, the successive conflicts that razed entire neighborhoods and public infrastructure to the ground, and the ongoing internal Palestinian political crisis that started in 2007 with the arrival of Hamas to power in Gaza," said Matthias Schmale, Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza.
According to the report, in Gaza, there are some 620,000 "abject poor" who cannot cover their basic food needs and who have to survive on 1.6 U.S. dollars per day. Moreover, there are nearly 390,000 "absolute poor" who survive on about 3.5 U.S. dollars per day.
UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support.