(Vatican Radio) The United Nations says that Palestinian refugees in Gaza are being forced to sleep in the rubble of their homes which were destroyed during a 50 day conflict last year. It also says that children are dying of hypothermia.
Over 96,000 Palestine refugee homes were damaged or destroyed during last summer’s conflict between Israel and Palestinian faction Hamas.
The UN agency UNRWA has been forced to suspend its cash assistance programme in Gaza to thousands of people for repairs to properties because it has run out of funds.
One of the Catholic organizations involved in the emergency response in Gaza has been the Pontifical Mission Palestine.
It has provided medical care, cash assistance and minor home renovations to Christian families living Gaza.
Listen to Lydia O’Kane’s interview with the Pontifical Mission Palestine’s Sami El-Yousef by clicking here.
On a recent visit to the Holy Land and in particular to the Gaza Strip, Lydia O’Kane spoke to the organization’s regional Director based in Jerusalem, Sami El-Yousef who said the destruction of last year’s war was unprecedented. “You go through complete neighourhoods and you see total destruction and homeless people all over the place basically.”
Towards the end of last year US$ 5.4 billion was pledged by the international community to help rebuild Gaza following the conflict, but that money has yet to materialize.
“None of the funds have come through”, said Mr El-Yousef. This means, he adds, “you cannot even claim that any serious reconstruction effort has started in Gaza and it is unclear whether this reconstruction will start any time soon…”