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UNRWA pledges to mitigate the effects of Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has reaffirmed its pledge to help alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people, especially in Gaza.

UNRWA's director of operations in Gaza Robert Turner said in a statement that: "UNRWA provides the local community and municipalities with large quantities of fuel to help alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian community, particularly the Palestinian refugees in the besieged Gaza Strip. The Islamic Development Bank, the UN emergency aid fund and the Turkish government are among the biggest fuel donors. UNRWA delivers the fuel to the UN Children's Fund and the World Health Organisation, which in turn distribute it to local hospitals, water wells, sanitary facilities, transportation and other services."

Turner pointed out that, since November, UNRWA has helped introduce nearly 785,000 litres of fuel to the Gaza Strip and is expecting that nearly 3.6 million litres will eventually enter the Strip.

Turner also pledged that the UN agency will continue to distribute fuel until June and make every effort to try and bring more fuel to supply the local demand.

Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip have been suffering from a draconian siege imposed by Israel since 2006. The Egyptian military's recent closure of the Rafah Crossing and its destruction of the tunnels used to smuggle essential items into the Strip have resulted in mass fuel shortages, contributing to the worsening humanitarian situation. The UN warned in November 2013 that Gaza is quickly becoming uninhabitable as a result of the on-going blockade.

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