In Israel’s summer 2014 assault on Gaza, as many as 500,000 Palestinians were displaced from their homes and forced to live in schools, camps, and other makeshift shelters. At an international donor conference in Cairo on 12 October 2014, which pledged $5.4 billion to the reconstruction effort, $720 million was earmarked for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) home repairs and rental subsidies program. However, by January 2015 little of the pledged amount had been disbursed and UNRWA was forced to suspend its cashassistance program. This came at a time when winter storms left Gaza’s residents particularly vulnerable, with heavy rains and snowfall leading to evacuations, hospitalizations, and deaths, and making the need for repair funds especially urgent.
Presented below is the agency’s official announcement of the program’s suspension by UNRWA Director in Gaza Robert Turner. As Turner made clear, UNRWA estimated that it needed at least $100 million within the first quarter of 2015 to repair homes and subsidize apartment rentals. The document is available at www.unrwa.org.