The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has announced the distribution of financial assistance to more than seven thousand families in the Gaza Strip. The money donated by Saudi Arabia will be used to repair and rebuild homes which were destroyed during Israel's offensive against civilians in Gaza last November.
"A generous donation of $15.6 million from the Saudi Fund for Development will enable UNRWA to provide urgently-needed cash subsidies directly to the affected refugee families," said a UN statement.
UNRWA's Director of Operations in Gaza, Robert Turner, said, "We are very happy that only four months after the conflict and the damage or destruction of these shelters, we are able to distribute the cash subsidies to 7,000 affected refugee families." The agency has never been able to provide "this scale of support" for war-damaged refugee shelters in such a short space of time, added Mr Turner. "We are very thankful for this quick and generous donation by the Saudi Fund for Development."
Immediately after the ceasefire in late November 2012, UNRWA began to assess the damage using teams of engineers and social workers to identify more than 7,000 refugee shelters (the UN does not call them "houses") throughout the Gaza Strip. Damage was classified between minor and severe and aid appropriate to the classification level will be distributed throughout this month.
Turner pointed out that is another example of UNRWA's continuing commitment to provide the best possible service to refugees using available resources. "Moreover, it is also another example of the ongoing support from donors, specifically Saudi Arabia."