The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in the Gaza Strip is to cancel the "temporary employment" contracts of 97 Palestinian engineers due to financial difficulties.
Dozens of Palestinian engineers gathered in front of UNRWA's headquarters in Gaza City to protest what they described as the "unfair" termination of their employment.
"We have worked for years in the Gaza reconstruction programme, helping citizens to limit their damages. Today, dozens of citizens will be affected by the decision to cancel engineers' contracts," said Thaer Shomer, a spokesman for UNRWA's temporary engineers.
You do not manage a financial crisis by creating new crises in Gaza, which already suffers from the collapse in living and economic standards
UNRWA provides relief and humanitarian support for more than 5 million Palestinian refugees living in the Palestinian territories (the West Bank and Gaza Strip) and refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. The Agency was established in 1949 following the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories in 1948, one of whose tragic consequences was the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their towns and villages.
For several years, UNRWA has been experiencing severe financial crisis, exacerbated by the United States which announced last month that it would be cutting half of its $130 million annual aid payment to the UN body.