24 April 2012 More than 1,300 Palestinians living in Gaza’s Khan Younis camp will move into 223 housing units built by the United Nations agency assisting refugees in that area, with the financial support of the Netherlands, it was announced today.
“We are grateful to the Government of the Netherlands for its consistent support for our work and for Palestine refugees,” said the Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Filippo Grandi, during the official inauguration ceremony of the housing units. “This contribution does more than rebuild homes, it rebuilds lives.”
UNRWA received a $7.2 million donation from the Netherlands, which was used not only to build the shelters, but also to fund the construction of roads, water infrastructure, and an electricity system, which, the agency said, will dramatically improve the often hazardous living conditions of the refugee families in Khan Younis.
According to UNRWA, new shelters are a priority in the refugee camps of Gaza, which is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. Large families are often cramped in unsafe shelters as a result of prevalent poverty and property destruction from the Gaza War in 2009, and of Israeli restrictions on the import of construction materials.
As one of the few agencies with limited exemptions to these restrictions, UNRWA has initiated camp infrastructure projects throughout the Gaza Strip so families can rebuild their lives and take ownership of their futures.
Funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions from UN Member States, UNRWA provides assistance, protection and advocacy for some five million registered Palestine refugees in the Middle East, pending a solution to their plight.
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