UNRWA: Sharp rise in Palestinians living in ‘catastrophic’ conditions, help is needed

Mohammed Asad

Middle East Monitor  /  January 31, 2023

UNRWA today appealed for help to meet the humanitarian needs of Palestinians living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Director of UNRWA Affairs in Gaza, Thomas White, said the occupied territories face an environment full of challenges and complexities, including the presence of a military occupation which has been ongoing for more than 55 years.

This, he added, has been made worse by the lack of commitment to international humanitarian law and international human rights law, the recurrence of the aggression on Gaza and the internal division, and was further exacerbated by the increase in commodity prices as a result of the Russia-Ukraine war.

The Israeli government, he said, is pursuing policies that contradict agreements it has made and as such exacerbating the humanitarian needs of Palestinians.

“The restrictive and discriminatory planning regime that Israel applies in Area C and East Jerusalem continues to prevent Palestinians from meeting their needs for housing, livelihoods and basic services,” White said.

Israeli occupation forces continue to carry out searches and arrests day and night, he said, while arresting, detaining and mistreating children.

White stated that a quarter of households in the West Bank were identified as living in “harsh”, “very harsh” or “catastrophic” conditions, compared to 21 per cent in 2022.

He explained that the situation is more acute in Gaza, where the percentage of families classified as living under the category of “catastrophic” or “extremely difficult” conditions reached 29 per cent, compared to ten per cent last year.

He pointed out that 31 per cent of Palestinians in the West Bank and 81 per cent in Gaza face challenges in meeting basic needs, especially in accessing food, health and public services.

Mohammed Asad – MEMO’s correspondent based in Gaza