GAZA CITY, Palestine: U.N. refugee agency UNRWA has issued an appeal for $295.4 million to help thousands of Palestinians displaced by Israel’s onslaught on Gaza.
“The agency is now appealing for a total of $295.4 million to support up to 500,000 displaced people, including more than 300,000 ... sheltering in UNRWA schools,” the agency said in a statement Tuesday.
The agency said that Palestinian civilians caught up in the violence required assistance meeting their immediate needs.
“The most immediate needs include food and non-food items, such as hygiene kits that help prevent the outbreak of diseases,” UNRWA said. “Other priorities include primary health care and psycho-social support.”
It is hoped that the conflict has now ended, after a permanent cease-fire was declared Tuesday, but the devastation and deprivation are widespread.
UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Kr?henbühl described the situation in Gaza as a “tragedy.”
“During a week when children should have been starting their new school year, they are instead facing prolonged insecurity, fear and suffering,” Kr?henbühl said.
“To make matters worse, the extensive destruction caused by the conflict means that many Palestinians will have no home to return to ... Many will face a harsh winter in emergency shelters,” he added.
“We call on the international community to help us ensure that all affected families receive the necessary support and dignified living conditions in the midst of the tragedy caused by this conflict,” Kr?henbühl said.
The Palestinian Religious Affairs Ministry, meanwhile, said the violence had completely destroyed 70 mosques across the embattled Palestinian enclave.
“Throughout its onslaught, Israel has deliberately targeted mosques,” the ministry said in a statement.
It went on to condemn the international community’s “shameful silence” regarding weeks of relentless Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip.
Israel’s offensive had also left 300 mosques partially damaged, the ministry said, estimating the damage to the coastal strip’s mosques at some $35,000,000.