Sun 23-June-2024

UNRWA: Gaza needs over 20 years to recover, rebuild

Tuesday 11-June-2024


UNRWA has affirmed that the destruction level arising from the Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip is incredibly significant and will require over 20 years to be reconstructed.

UNRWA spokesman Jonathan Fowler said in press remarks on Monday that the reconstruction of Gaza will be a hard task, especially rebuilding the education system, receiving children and securing their return to schools, and reconstruction of damaged clinics.

Fowler pointed to the widespread devastation in Gaza, mounds and piles of rubble and debris, people living in the rubble, and the presence of unexploded ordnance in different areas.

UNRWA has paid an extraordinary price as a result of the war and lost 192 of its staff since October 7, 2023, a figure not seen since the UN was established in 1945, Fowler said.

Fowler said about 170 UNRWA facilities in Gaza were bombed and sustained damage to varying degrees, adding that schools had the most severe damage as education came to a standstill from day one of the war and schools were turned into shelters for the Palestinians who were seeking safe refuge.

Fowler said that about 450 people had been killed and more than 1,400 injured in Israeli strikes on UNRWA facilities since the war began.

He accused the Israeli army of deliberately targeting UNRWA facilities, pointing to “a pattern of disregard for the UN flag and its locations,” and stressing that there is no ambiguity about the refugee agency’s presence in Gaza, yet “we saw direct strikes on our buildings.”

Fowler pledged that UNRWA would continue its operations in Gaza despite Israeli calls for replacing it with other UN agencies, adding the refugee agency had been mandated by the UN General Assembly with “a very specific mission.”

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