UN report says number of "abject poor" tripled in Gaza

Friday, October 2, 2009

UNRWA chief John Ging speaks to the press at a UNRWA facility in Gaza on January 15, 2009.
Image: ISM Palestine.

One in every five Gazans is living in "abject poverty", according to a report issued today by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza. People are placed under the "abject poverty" category when they are no longer able to feed themselves or their family, even with UN assistance.

The head of UNRWA, Jon Ging, claimed that poverty rates inside Gaza had tripled. He described the situation in Gaza as "unbearable" and called on Israel to end its blockade of the territories immediately. "At the start of this year, there were 100,000 people that were in our special hardship category, now we have another 200,000 added to that.

"Of course, sadly, this is the predictable consequence of the blockade and of the siege on Gaza. We want, once again, to call for the lifting of the siege on Gaza."

Israel has maintained its blockade of the Gaza Strip since June 2007, when Hamas took control over the area. Gaza's 1.5 million inhabitants are not allowed to enter or leave the area without Israeli permission.

The United Nations currently provides food aid to almost one million Gazans.