A worker wearing protective gear sprays disinfectant as a precaution against the coronavirus, in Gaza City [Adel Hana/The Associated Press]
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) signed an agreement for a US$ 1 million contribution from KSrelief, in support of the Agency’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in Gaza.
The agreement was signed by Adviser at the Royal Court, the General Supervisor of the Centre, Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah and UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini. This funding will provide life-saving medical devices, equipment and protective supplies to Palestine refugees in Gaza.
Speaking at the signing, Lazzarini said: “KSRelief is providing vital life-saving support that will enable UNRWA to procure medical equipment and supplies required to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and help save the lives of Palestine refugees in Gaza.”
UNRWA has a long-term relationship with KSrelief. KSRelief has been a strategic partner for the Agency, supporting its health services to Palestine refugees in Gaza and Lebanon.
Years of socioeconomic decline, conflicts and closure have contributed to the weakening of the health sector across Gaza, with irregular maintenance of the infrastructure and uneven access to new medical supplies and equipment. This contribution will boost the Agency’s efforts to prevent and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and help the vulnerable community of Palestine refugees in Gaza.
The offensives launched by the Israeli military on Gaza have turned the enclave into a hell on earth as most families have lost their sources of incomes, homes, and property.
Last month, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed concern over the alarming situation in the besieged Gaza Strip in light of the propagation of the novel coronavirus COVID-19.
"There are dramatic humanitarian needs for these people even without this pandemic”, he said. "It is very difficult for these people to be living in self-isolation. There, households often don't have water, no soap, and healthcare facilities are extremely rudimentary. So we need to boost the response capacity in those areas".
According to data by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Gaza is one of the world's most densely populated areas, with more than 5,000 inhabitants per square kilometer. The Gaza Strip is smaller than the city of Oslo but is home to three times as many people.
A 2012 UN report predicted the Palestinian enclave would be “unlivable” by 2020 if nothing was done to ease the blockade, but in June 2017 a UN report on living conditions in Gaza stated that all the indicators were going in the wrong direction and that deadline was actually approaching even faster than earlier predicted.
Gaza is described by many Palestinians and humanitarian actors as the world’s largest open-air prison, where nearly 2 million Palestinians live behind a blockade and are refused access to the other occupied Palestinian areas and the rest of the world.
NRC said 7 out of 10 Palestinians in Gaza are registered as refugees, and many of these come from families who were forced to leave their villages in 1948. Many have also been forced to leave their homes due to war, violence, and economic hardship.