UNRWA Opens Up New Health Center for Gaza Refugees

UNRWA Opens Up New Health Center for Gaza Refugees

Director of UNRWA operations in Gaza, Matthias Schmale, inaugurates the new health center.

A new Saudi-funded health center was inaugurated in Deir El-Balah refugee camp, in the blockaded Gaza Strip.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) opened a new health facility for Palestinian refugees which was funded by the Saudi Fund for Development.

The inauguration was attended by director of UNRWA operations in Gaza, Matthias Schmale, and senior staff members, along with civil society representatives.

UNRWA said the centre provides good-quality health services to nearly 60,500 refugees inside and outside the camp.

The new facility includes units for prenatal care, maternal and child care, chronic diseases, dental care, laboratory services, and psycho-social counseling.

Deir El-Balah refugee camp is the smallest refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. It is located on the Mediterranean coast, west of a town of the same name, in central Gaza. Deir al-Balah means "Monastery of the Dates", a reference to the abundant date palm groves in the area.

UNRWA said Deir El-Balah camp initially provided shelter for around 9,000 refugees who had fled from villages in central and southern Palestine as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

The refugees originally lived in tents, which were replaced by mud-brick shelters and later by cement block structures. Today, more than 25,569 refugees are living in the camp.

UNRWA has often warned that life under the blockade has become increasingly difficult for camp residents as socio-economic conditions have deteriorated significantly and unemployment has risen enormously. Fewer and fewer families can provide for themselves and most of the camp population is now dependent on UNRWA’s food assistance. Basic hygiene is also of great concern in the camp with 90 per cent of the water being unfit for human consumption.

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