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UN Agency Appeals for More Money to Aid Palestinians


An appeal is being made by a U.N. agency to help Palestinian refugees on the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The agency, UNRWA, said more money is needed to repair refugee shelters and provide food.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) said it is asking donors to help rebuild Palestinian refugee areas on the West Bank and Gaza Strip following Israel's military campaign earlier this year.

The Israeli army moved into the Palestinian territories after a series of Palestinian suicide bombings. This week, Israeli troops again reoccupied some Palestinian areas after more of deadly suicide bombings.

UNRWA spokesman Rene Aquarone said Israel's spring military campaign caused damage to buildings and infrastructure, like sewers and water systems, in a number of towns. He said money also is needed to help create jobs for unemployed Palestinians.

"We have calculated painstakingly and very precisely the damage, which has occurred in the West Bank and Gaza since March and April. And that has brought up to the additional amount of $55.7 million required for the following things: shelter repair, relief and social assistance, rehabilitation and infrastructure, additional food aid, on top of what is already foreseen in the emergency appeal," Ms. Aquarone said.

The earlier appeal was for $117 million. Mr. Aquarone said less than half of that appeal has been met.

Mr. Aquarone said that, so far, UNRWA is still able to reach Palestinian refugees with humanitarian assistance, despite Israel's reoccupation of many Palestinian towns. "We have been able to have access to most of these places and so there is no immediate humanitarian urgency or danger. The food is in place, the medical supplies are in place, but many of these zones are now closed," Mr. Aquarone said.

Mr. Aquarone said other U.N. agencies aiding ordinary Palestinians - not refugees - are calling seeking $39 million in humanitarian assistance.

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