The UN Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA, has said that it will be able to provide thousands with work opportunities over a three year period as a result of the estimated €14 million in funding it has received.
UNRWA's Director of Operation, Robert Turner, indicated that this decision would ease levels of unemployment and that opportunities would arise in the health, education, environment, relief and services sectors. Other work opportunities would be in support for the private sector and requires that the blockade be lifted in order for them to succeed.
UNWRA also announced the delivery of a housing project financed by Japan and Saudi Arabia for refugees living in temporary or inappropriate housing. It confirmed that 6,208 refugees whose homes were completely or partly destroyed would be given new homes in Rafah and Khan Younis.
In addition to improvement to the general infrastructure and vital services, the two projects also include the construction of green spaces which will improve the standard of living and quality of life of the population. Nearly 3,600 urgent jobs have been created for workers, particular those working in the manufacture of local building materials.
He added, "UNRWA does not expect the arrival of large numbers of refugees displaced from Syria due to difficulties of access to the Sector, and those who do gain entry are treated in the same manner as the refugees in Gaza."
In a related issue, fifteen UNRWA employees with permanent contracts who were dismissed from their jobs have staged a sit-in where they condemned the decision to fire them as unfair. They have vowed to escalate their demonstration until UNRWA amends its decision.
On Tuesday, the Popular Refugee Committees in the Gaza Strip organised a similar sit-in outside the headquarters of UNRWA in Gaza in protest against the recent decision to dismiss 130 West Bank employees with contracts.
MEMO Photographer: Mohammed Asad