[QODLink]
Middle East
UN: Poverty tripled in Gaza
UNRWA says the number of Gazans considered "abject poor" has tripled to 300,000 this year.
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2009 17:47 GMT
The UN provides food aid to nearly one
million Gazans [AFP]

Poverty in the Gaza Strip has tripled this year under the Israeli blockade, according to the UN agency helping refugees living there.

John Ging, the head of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza, told reporters on Thursday that the number of Gazans considerered "abject poor" had tripled to 300,000 this year, equal to one in five Gazans.

Ging described the situation in the narrow and overcrowded Palestinian territory as "unbearable" and as a "man-made crisis", calling on Israel to ease its siege immediately.

"The humanitarian situation here in Gaza continues to deteriorate at an alarming rate for the ordinary poor citizens," Ging said.

He reported that 80,000 families, representing 400,000 Palestinian refugees, had applied to UNRWA for extra assistance.

"We now have three times more hardship cases. People cannot feed their families even with our assistance.

"At the start of this year, there were 100,000 people that were in our special hardship category, now we have another 200,000 added to that,

"Of course, sadly, this is the predictable consequence of the blockade and of the siege on Gaza. We want, once again, to call for the lifting of the siege on Gaza."

Gaza's economy has foundered under the blockade Israel imposed after the Hamas movement took control of the territory in 2007.

The UN provides food aid to nearly one million Gazans. It defines "abject poor" as those who cannot feed their families, even with UN assistance.

Ging said his agency urgently requires greater funding to fill the growing need.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Featured
Pro-Russia leaders' election in Ukraine's east shows bloody conflict is far from a peaceful resolution.
Critics challenge Canberra's move to refuse visas for West Africans in Ebola-besieged countries.
A key issue for Hispanics is the estimated 11.3 million immigrants in the US without papers who face deportation.
In 1970, only two mosques existed in the country, but now more than 200 offer sanctuary to Japan's Muslims.
Hundreds of the country's reporters eke out a living by finding news - then burying it for a price.