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UN chief calls for donors to fulfil Gaza pledges

February 7, 2015 at 1:05 pm

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on Friday for international donors to fulfil their pledges to rebuild the Gaza Strip, Anadolu has reported. The financial assistance was pledged at a donor conference held in Egypt following the Israeli war against the people of Gaza last summer.

Ban made the appeal jointly with the Secretary General of the Arab League, Nabil Elaraby. “The Secretaries-General of the United Nations and the League of Arab States express their deep concern over the situation in Gaza,” a UN statement said. “They appeal urgently to donors to honour and disburse as soon as possible their financial commitments made at the October 2014 Cairo Conference.”

Pledges worth $5.4 billion were made at the conference, half of which was allocated for the reconstruction of Gaza’s infrastructure destroyed by the Israeli attack on the besieged coastal territory. The balance was intended for the urgent needs of the Palestinians in Gaza, who have lived under a strict Israeli-led blockade and three deadly wars waged by Israel since 2006.

Last month, the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which looks after Palestinian refugees, announced that it was halting certain operations in Gaza due to a lack of funds. UNRWA revealed that it has received just $135m out of the $724m that it had sought from donors. It warned that the problems facing displaced Palestinians in Gaza are getting worse.

“The pace of reconstruction in Gaza remains slow,” said UNRWA. “It is crucial now to expand the scope of reconstruction efforts thus far to bring hope to the people of Gaza and ensure stability, based on international responsibility in reconstruction and lifting the siege.”

Such support, added a spokesman, should also include funding for UN agencies that are carrying out vital operations in Gaza, in order to prevent a further deterioration in the already dire humanitarian situation there.