The UK will provide new funding to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA to help provide food, water, and emergency shelter to Palestinians affected by the recent escalation in violence in Gaza, the UK’s Minister for the Middle East James Cleverly announced today (20 May 2021).
The UK support comes as UNRWA launches an emergency appeal calling for urgent support to meet immediate humanitarian needs. Existing UK aid to UNRWA is already helping the Agency to provide food supplies to more than one million refugees in Gaza this year.
The humanitarian situation in Gaza was already concerning, with the percentage of the population living in poverty expected to increase this year from 53 per cent to 64 per cent. COVID is still spreading in Gaza and 2 million Palestinians have been living under severe movement and access restrictions.
Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, James Cleverly, said:
“Palestinian and Israeli civilians should not face the brunt of this conflict, and no child or family should go without food, water or shelter. Today’s UK support will help UNRWA deliver life-saving humanitarian aid to those that need it most.
“The international community needs to ensure UNRWA is able to save lives and reduce the suffering.
“The escalation of violence and loss of life in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories has shocked all of us. Both sides must work towards an immediate ceasefire, to prevent the further loss of life and a worsening humanitarian situation.”
The UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has spoken in recent days with the Israeli Foreign Minister and Palestinian Prime Minister, where he reinforced the UK’s clear message of de-escalation.
At the UN Security Council, the UK is calling for an urgent ceasefire and measures by all sides to reduce further violence. The UK will also participate in an emergency UN General Assembly session today.