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600 UAE-funded housing units given to refugees in Gaza

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) yesterday handed over 600 UAE-funded housing units to families in Gaza.

UNRWA’s Chief of Infrastructure and Camp Improvement Project Rafiq Abed announced the delivery of the units in the framework of an Emirati project known as Khalifa City, named after the UAE’s President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.

Abed said the project targeted three categories of beneficiaries: refugees whose homes were demolished during Israel’s military operations; poor residents, and others whose homes were demolished for the construction of roads.

He added that the residential units also include a school, a water cistern, a mosque and infrastructure, noting that the project cost $20 million.

UNRWA’s Deputy Director of Operations Melinda Young said that work began in 2007, with construction being halted several times due to the Israeli blockade and successive wars on Gaza.

Young added that the units are expected to provide shelter for 4,000 Palestinian refugees.

She explained that UNRWA is discussing other projects with the UAE in the Gaza Strip, since about 14,000 homes were damaged by last year’s Israeli war, leaving many Palestinians homeless.

She called for the need to end the “unjust” blockade imposed on Gaza and give the Palestinians their right to freedom of travel and movement, as well as the right to have construction material and humanitarian aid delivered to Gaza.

Israel launched a 51-day war on the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2014 killing 2,322 Palestinians. Around 28,366 housing units were either partially or completely destroyed by the shelling, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Public Works and Housing.

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