[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
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.