JERUSALEM — UN agencies and non-governmental organisations today are appealing for $215 million in emergency assistance for people in the occupied Palestinian territory.
The reason for yet another Appeal in the occupied Palestinian territory - this is the fourth consecutive year - is because the humanitarian situation is largely unchanged. Poverty rates have increased in 2005 compared to 2004. Gaza, the northern and southern areas of the West Bank are the areas of most acute need.
The Appeal is part of a global appeal of $4.7 billion launched by United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, for 18 countries and regions facing humanitarian crises.
The underlying reason continues to be the restrictions on Palestinian movement, particularly an inability to freely cross borders to potential markets and move within the West Bank. The Government of Israel has stated that these measures are necessary to prevent militant attacks on Israeli citizens.
“Unfortunately until improvements in access occur the need for continued humanitarian assistance will remain crucial,” said David Shearer, Head of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. “Emergency aid will not solve the problem, but with poverty rates rising, it can prevent families from slipping deeper into poverty.”
“Over the past four years, emergency assistance has made a real difference to the poorest sections of Palestinian society. This year, for example, emergency food aid reached 1.4 million people. Job creation programmes generated approximately 3.5 million working days and cash assistance assisted many vulnerable families,” David Shearer said.
This year’s Appeal for the oPt will complement new initiatives to move aid spending into recovery and rehabilitation programmes that have been led by the Palestinian Authority’s Medium Term Development Plan and by Quartet Special Envoy for Disengagement, James Wolfensohn.
“This has enabled the 2006 Appeal to focus only on the urgent humanitarian priorities affecting the most vulnerable Palestinian families,” said David Shearer. “As a result, the amount of the Appeal is $215 million down from $302 million last year.”
The Appeal includes 64 different projects covering six different sectors: health (including psycho-social), education, food security (including agriculture), emergency job creation and cash assistance and water and sanitation. Twelve UN agencies are part of the Appeal and nine non-governmental organisations.