Gaza moving ‘from bad to worse’: UNRWA

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GAZA CITY, Palestine

A UN official on Sunday warned that the situation in Israel-blockaded Gaza Strip was moving from bad to worse.

“The social and economic situation in Gaza is moving from bad to worse,” Matthias Schmale, the director of UNRWA’s operations in Gaza, told a meeting organized by Press House NGO.

He blamed the 12-year Israeli blockade on Gaza for the deteriorating situation in the Palestinian territory, which is home to nearly two million people.

“It has caused higher unemployment rates, economic collapse and restriction of free trade,” Schmale said.

According to the Palestinian Center of Bureau of Statistics, unemployment in Gaza continues to rise, reaching 52% in 2018, an increase of almost eight percent since 2017 and of more than 20 percent since Israel imposed the closure in 2007.

A recent report by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) found that food insecurity affected two thirds of the population in Gaza.

It said that some 70 percent of non-refugees in Gaza are food-insecure, as against 67 percent of refugees in the enclave.

Israel has imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip in 2007 after Palestinian group Hamas seized control of the strip from its rival group Fatah, badly affecting livelihood in the Palestinian enclave.

Established in 1949, UNRWA delivers critical aid to Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

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