UNRWA Press Release 1 April 2004
UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East
Press Release No. HQ/G/06/2004
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) announced Thursday it stopped distributing emergency food aid to some 600,000 refugees in the Gaza Strip.
UNRWA said in a statement that the suspension followed restrictions introduced by Israel on the sole commercial crossing into Gaza through which it is able to bring in humanitarian assistance.
The agency said it had now completely run out of stocks of rice, flour, cooking oil and other essential products.
“Under normal circumstances, UNRWA delivers some 250 tons of food aid per day in Gaza alone as part of a wider program of emergency assistance to refugees, initiated shortly after the outbreak of strife in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in September 2000,” the statement said.
Almost two out of three households in Gaza live below the poverty line and more than half its workforce is unemployed.
UNRWA said it urged Israel to loosen its restrictions in Gaza in a joint statement with other UN agencies on March, but thus far without success.