Director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) operations in the Gaza Strip Matthias Schmale (L) speaks during a press conference in Gaza City, on March 3, 2021. The UNRWA said on Wednesday that the living conditions of Palestinian refugees in the besieged Gaza Strip "are getting worse." (Photo by Rizek Abdeljawad/Xinhua)
GAZA, March 3 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said on Wednesday that the living conditions of Palestinian refugees in the besieged Gaza Strip "are getting worse."
"The living conditions of the Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip are getting worse due to 14 years of Israeli blockade and lack of jobs," said Matthias Schmale, director of UNRWA operations in the Gaza Strip.
"The agency resorted to implementing the unified food basket system in the Gaza Strip because the living standards have become the same and it isn't easy to differentiate between the poor people and their levels of living," Schmale said.
"The well-known definition of extreme or absolute poverty is no longer suitable, and there is no need to conduct poverty surveys because most of the Palestinian refugees in Gaza need help," he said.
He also said the UNRWA has asked the government's authorities to provide it with a database of employees who receive salaries above the minimum wage.
"The UNRWA is ready to increase food aid to refugees, in quantity and quality, if it obtains funds and the names of those who do not need food coupons are cancelled," he added.
UNRWA officials have said that the agency is experiencing "a most serious financial crisis" in its history due to the severe shortage of donations for it.
The UN body's financial crisis began after the United States decided to cut 360 million U.S. dollars for the agency in 2018, which was 30 percent of its annual budget.
The UNRWA provides life-saving services to about 5.6 million Palestinian refugees in its five fields of operation that include Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, as well as the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Enditem