As you know, devastating violence has once again returned to Gaza. Israel’s military operation “Pillar of Defense” continues to cause casualties in Gaza, many of them innocent women and children. Loud explosions from Israeli air, naval, and tank strikes, as well as rocket and mortar fire from Gaza into Southern Israel can be heard throughout all of Gaza.
A young boy in Gaza walks past his UNRWA school and through the wreckage caused by the recent devastating violence.
Tragically, one of our UNRWA teachers, Marwan Abu El Qumsan, was killed on Wednesday by a nearby airstrike while in his car. As you can imagine, our staff of 12,000, like everyone in Gaza, is terrified.
We mourn all loss of life and support the calls of the Secretary-General for an immediate de-escalation of tension on both sides. But, as violence continues, UNRWA remains in Gaza, prepared to provide protection, emergency medical relief, and support to the 1.2 million refugees we serve there.
Due to security concerns, all 245 UNRWA schools will be closed until further notice, but they will remain a safe place to take shelter should it become necessary. Our health teams are also prepared for emergency care in our 21 clinics and will establish temporary or mobile clinics if individuals are displaced or unable to travel to permanent UNRWA clinics.
We have a sufficient stock of food aid to provide in the short term, but without immediate support, stock will be completely depleted for early 2013. This would be catastrophic for the 800,000 refugees who rely on UNRWA’s food aid for survival. If this crisis continues, medical aid supplies and medicine might also face critical shortages, jeopardizing more lives.
During my visit to Gaza in March, I was struck by the hopefulness of the people I met there. But as this vulnerable population faces multiple crises, that hope continues to fade. Please help us provide the protection, emergency medical relief, and support these refugees need, just to survive.
We will continue to update you with important information as we receive it. Thank you for continuing to stand by us.
American Friends of UNRWA
UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees) provides humanitarian assistance and human development and protection programs including food aid, education, health care, and job training to registered Palestine refugees living in Gaza, the West Bank, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. Today, in times of both conflict and calm, UNRWA supports, protects, and empowers more than 5 million Palestinian refugees in need.
American Friends of UNRWA (AFU) is a US 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that supports the work of UNRWA in the United States. We educate the American public about the situation for Palestinian refugees and advocate for the protection and promotion of their human rights. All donations to AFU are tax-deductible to the fullest extent under the law.
American Friends of UNRWA 1666 K Street, NW, Suite 440, Washington, DC 20006
Phone: 202.223.3767 | Fax: 202.457.0549 | Email: [email protected]