Refugee children in Gaza dying from hypothermia

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Palestinians search the rubble of destroyed homes in Khuzaa, east of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip. Photo: UNRWA Archives/Shareef Sarhan

Palestinian refugees in Gaza are sleeping in the rubble of their destroyed homes and children are dying from hypothermia, according to the United Nations.

It follows the suspension of a UN programme to repair houses damaged in a two month conflict last year between Israel and the Palestinian faction Hamas.

Daniel Dickinson reports

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNWRA, said that children have died of hypothermia in the Gaza strip because they were "literally sleeping amongst the rubble."

The agency called the situation "distressing and unacceptable."

Over 96,000 Palestine refugee homes were damaged or destroyed during last summer's conflict. A UN programme to repair properties and provide cash assistance to the homeless has now run out of funds. 

UNWRA says US$ 720 million is needed to assist those refugees. So far only US$ 135 million has been received from donors.

Last October, the international community got together in Egypt and pledged US$ 5.4 billion to help rebuild Gaza following the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

The UN says virtually none of it has reached the Palestinian territory. 

Daniel Dickinson, United Nations

 

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