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UNRWA

  • Mortality rate increases among Gaza infants for first time in 50 years

    With Gaza's infant mortality rate up for the first time in 50 years, health officials worry that a continued blockade, and lack of sufficient neonatal care, may cause the upward trend to continue. For the first time in 50 years, Gaza's refugee population has seen an increase in the number of infant deaths, according to an UNRWA study published earlier this month. Published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal PLOS One, the survey findings were based on results collected from August 2013 to October 2013, prior to the 2014 war that left dozens of infants dead and caused further damage to Gaza’s already ailing health infrastructure. [tmwinpost] "The finding is truly alarming,…

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  • UNRWA funding crisis puts 500k Palestinian children at risk

    A budget deficit of $101 million threatens to delay the start of the academic year in UNRWA schools. At a time of rising extremism, such an outcome could have consequences for states across the Middle East, the agency says. UNRWA, the UN agency responsible for Palestinian refugees, is facing a budget deficit of $101 million for the coming year, the agency says. The shortfall threatens to delay the start of the academic year for UNRWA-run schools. At risk, too, are psychosocial support programs that are administered within UNRWA schools (those offered in health centers will continue to run). The scale…

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  • Despite the devastation, Gazans see no alternative to Hamas

    A year after Operation Protective Edge, I traveled from Israel to visit my family in the Gaza Strip, where Palestinians are suffering from high rates of unemployment, violence, and drug use. By Thair Abu-Rass This past week I experienced one of the most formative events of my life: a three-day visit to Gaza for the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan. Entering the "largest prison in the world," as Gaza's residents call it, came after the Israeli authorities' eased access for family visits between Israel and Gaza. [tmwinpost] I am a quarter Gazan:…

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  • In war, there is no safe place for Gaza's children

    A new report details the harrowing reality for Gaza's children during last summer's assault. There came a point early on during last summer's Gaza war when it seemed we reached a nadir. Four children, all under the age of 12, were killed by an Israeli naval attack while playing soccer on a beach. The boys were directly struck by two shells, which also seriously wounded four other children. [tmwinpost] It was, as we now know, about to get infinitely worse for Gaza's children. A new report released by Defence for Children International-Palestine (DCIP) documents the consistent targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure…

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  • Homeless and widowed: One Gazan's tragic story

    Rasha Abu Oda fled her Gaza home, took shelter in a UN school, was injured in an Israeli strike and then died while giving birth. The war in Gaza may have ended, but Gazans are just starting to pick up the pieces of their broken lives. By Awni Farhat The aggression of the Israeli army against the Palestinian people of the Gaza Strip ended last Tuesday evening, however the suffering and grief of those who lost their loved ones and their homes continues. The story of Rasha Abu Oda is one of countless heartbreaking stories that I could write about.…

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  • Photos of the week: Gazans search for normalcy among the ruins

    What does life look like in Gaza after both the Israeli army and the media leave? Photos and Text: Basel Yazouri/Activestills.org People in Gaza are lost and uncertain. They cannot fathom what happened to them, and they cannot predict what might happen in the few next days. People whose houses were destroyed are living in schools. Those whose houses are still standing or damaged came back to live in them, but don't know how long they can stay. Many even went back to living in schools out of fear that the ceasefire will end. In Beit Hanoun, people are doing…

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  • Gaza dispatch: When tanks shell refugee camps

    In Jabaliya sustained Israeli shelling has obliterated entire families, leaving them homeless and with few options to rebuild. Scenes of destruction abound along Gaza's eastern border. From its northern tip to the southern town of Rafah, entire blocks along this 25-mile-long strip have been flattened, displacing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, overwhelming the makeshift shelters of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, and threatening to delay the beginning of the school year here. But for all the trauma felt by the newly displaced, residents of Gaza's refugee camps have suffered an especially cruel fate since Israel began its ground…

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  • Why the Gaza port matters

    While prospects for a negotiated end to the Israeli blockade of Gaza remain bleak, making use of the existing sea passage to Gaza could offer a way forward for all parties, including Egypt. As negotiations to end the bloodshed in Gaza continue in Cairo, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) said today that some 65,000 homes had been destroyed by Israeli bombing, leaving more than a quarter of the Gazan population seeking shelter – half of them at UNRWA schools. Aid organizations say the recovery effort will take years and, even then, only if Gaza has unfettered access to the…

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  • Debunking Gaza war lies

    The lies generated by the IDF spokesperson and the media on the Gaza war are still being endlessly quoted for the purposes of propaganda. By John Brown (translated from Hebrew by Sol Salbe) 1. "Hamas is forcing residents to stand on rooftops, leading to their deaths." The claim originated with the killing of six members of the Kware'a family and two others at 2:30 p.m. on July 8. According to the investigation, the family evacuated the house after receiving a phone call from the army, but returned after the "knock on the roof" missile was erroneously assumed to have been the missile…

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  • IDF soldier: Artillery fire in Gaza is like Russian roulette

    During Operation Protective Edge the IDF has shot thousands of artillery shells into Gaza, the impact location of which are uncontrollable. As an ex-combat soldier in the artillery corps, I feel obligated to explain how artillery fire on a civilian population can be both dangerous and lethal. By Idan Barir (translated by Hadas Leonov) Amid the stream of terrible reports from Operation Protective Edge, two especially painful events captured my attention: The bombardment of an UNRWA school in Jabaliya that served as a shelter for families that had fled their homes due to the fighting, which resulted in the deaths…

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  • PHOTOS: Gaza's half-million internally displaced

    Photos by: Basel Yazouri and Anne Paq/Activestills.org Text by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler The most commonly cited statistic from Gaza is the death toll, now rising past 1,814, according to UN figures. Such numbers can be numbing, as absorbing the reality of so many faces and names is impossible. Yet another staggering figure that is difficult to comprehend is the number of people displaced from their homes, which the UN estimates at 520,000. Gaza's half-million displaced residents are one of the most obvious refutations of the the accusation that Hamas uses "human shields." The Guardian has reported "large numbers of people fleeing…

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  • How will Gaza's children carry their scars into adulthood?

    The children who survive Operation Protective Edge will emerge to find their previous lives almost unrecognizable, as the families, schools, hospitals and mosques that framed their world are systematically destroyed. By Olivia Watson Israel’s ground invasion of the Gaza Strip has seen the child death toll climb so rapidly - at the rate of one child killed every hour - that the exact circumstances of each killing are now barely mentioned in reports. But lists of fatalities, 329 and rising, obscure the reality that awaits Palestinian children in Gaza. Those who survive will emerge to find their previous lives almost…

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  • Refugees once again: Gazans who lost their home wonder what's next

    As the ranks of Gaza’s internally displaced continue to grow, communities are forming in the most unlikely places. The Boys Preparatory School “A” is home to hundreds of Palestinians from eastern Rafah, where fierce fighting forced them to flee to the UN-run shelter. The school sits on a quiet street just off Rafah’s Nijmeh Circle, but on August 3, its residents were jarred by an explosion so loud that it left Ashraf Eid’s ears ringing. “I jumped up to go see what was happening,” said Eid, 22, who has been at the school with his extended family for 24 days.…

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