Psycho-social trauma, particularly among children, is acute in Gaza. (File photo via UNICEF)
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) sounded the alarm over the psycho-social trauma inflicted by the more than a decade-long Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip.
Presenting his annual report to the UN General Assembly’s Fourth Committee, Commissioner-General, Philippe Lazzarini
“Since I last briefed this committee in November 2020, the situation in the region has continued to deteriorate. The vulnerability and needs of Palestine refugees have reached record levels”, said Lazzarini.
“For the first time in decades, four out of the five areas where UNRWA operates are simultaneously in crisis: Gaza, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Lebanon and Syria”.
Lazzarini warned that the conflict in Gaza last May compounded and accelerated human suffering. UNRWA lost 20 of its students. Over 1,300 shelters were damaged and made uninhabitable.
“Psycho-social trauma, particularly among children, is acute. Poverty remains widespread. After 14 years of blockade, unemployment is skyrocketing, particularly among youth and women”, added Lazzarini.
“In response, UNRWA is now providing food assistance to almost all Palestine refugees in Gaza, 70 per cent of the total population. The support of the international community to our Humanitarian and Early Recovery Appeal and the partial easing by Israel of entry of construction materials are welcome”, stated the UN official.
However, he expressed deep concerned that the humanitarian situation will continue to deteriorate in the absence of a genuine political track aimed at lifting the blockade on people, goods and trade in line with UN General Assembly and Security Council resolutions.