The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees
Gaza, 4 Jumadil Awal 1437/12 February 2016 (MINA) – The UN agency for Palestinian refugees Thursday announced that a total of 1,842 refugee families in Gaza received support for reconstruction and repair works.
UNRWA said in its weekly report that it was able to disburse approximately $7.1 million in funding available for reconstruction ($2.8 million) and severe repair works ($4.3 million), benefiting a total of 1,842 refugee families across the Gaza Strip.
The families would be able to access this assistance through local banks next week, Palestinian News and Info Agency (WAFA) quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
The UN agency noted that it accorded emergency shelter – including support for home repairs, reconstruction and interim shelter solutions – a top priority. It said it remained committed to supporting affected families yet it required new funding to continue the shelter cash assistance program.
Providing an overview of assistance disbursed, the UNRWA shelter assessment confirmed 141,559 Palestinian refugee houses were impacted during the 2014 Israeli Gaza onslaught, including 9,117 totally demolished houses. 5,355 shelters have suffered severe damages , 3,700 major and 123,387 minor damages.
It noted that since the start of the 2014 emergency shelter response, it had distributed over $151.4 million (excluding Programme Support Costs) to Palestinian refugee families whose homes were damaged or demolished during the 2014 Gaza onslaught.
It also noted that it had completed the payments to over 66,300 Palestinian refugee families – more than half of the caseload – for minor repair works, to 1,515 families to repair their severely damaged shelters, to 12 families for major repair works and to 41 families for reconstruction.
It added that payment transfers were going to over 12,380 refugee families to continue repair works of their shelters and 483 families to continue the reconstruction of their shelters.
It also added that 13,250 families received a rental subsidy payment to cover the period from September to December 2014. Disbursement of subsequent installments entailed further eligibility checks through which over 9,900 families received the relevant rental subsidy payments during the period from January to December 2015.
Highlighting funding gaps and needs, the UN agency noted that as of 10 February 2016, over 60,300 refugee families have not received any payments to undertake repair works for their minor damaged homes (total repair costs estimated at $ 68.2 million).
It added that 3,200 other families had not received any payments to repair or start repairing their major damaged homes (total repair costs estimated at $ 28.8 million) and that 1,850 families had not received payments to repair or start repairing their severely damaged homes (total estimate costs: $16.6 million).
Out of these, the UN agency has processed the documents of over 45,500 families with damaged shelters and could disburse payments to these families immediately upon receipt of funding.
It also noted in this regard that over 17 months after the ceasefire, 6,876 refugee families had not received any payments to start repairing their totally demolished homes; the total costs of reconstructing their homes amounts to approximately $309.42 million.
Due to lack of sufficient funding, the UN agency said, also about 8,000 refugee families displaced by the 2014 Gaza onslaught had not received transitional shelter cash assistance (TSCA) in 2016. The US$ 23.3 million in TSCA needed to assist the 2014 conflict emergency caseload in 2016 had been included in the oPT Emergency Appeal 2016.
The UN announcement came a day after the UN $571 million funding appeal to address the humanitarian needs of the oPT.
The appeal was jointly launched by Finance Minister Shukri Bishara and the UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Assistance and Development Aid in the occupied Palestinian territory Robert Piper. (T/P011/R07)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)