“Based on the assurances UNRWA in Gaza received from different local parties, the Agency will reopen its installations across the Gaza Strip effective today, Tuesday 9 April,” UNRWA said in a statement.
Hundreds of Palestinians have been demonstrating outside the UNRWA office in Gaza since last week, in response to a programme cut necessitated by budget shortfalls according to the agency.
Protests against the cuts turned violent on 4 April, when demonstrators stormed the UNRWA office in Gaza, leading to the closure of all relief and distribution centers, which together provide food to more than 800,000 Gazans altogether.
“UNRWA was forced to close its distribution and relief offices last week due to ongoing demonstrations that affected its operations, a regrettable decision that hindered the Agency’s ability to provide much needed services and relief supplies to Palestine refugees in Gaza,” UNRWA said.
“While UNRWA understands the frustration of the population, heightened by the tightened blockade on the Gaza Strip, and respects the right to peaceful demonstrations, UNRWA must ensure the safety and security of its staff. UNRWA in Gaza reaffirms that while it is re-opening these facilities now, if its staff or facilities are threatened or operations hindered by demonstrations in the future, it will again be forced to close those installations.”
UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) provides assistance, protection and advocacy for some 5 million registered Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the occupied Palestinian territory, pending a solution to their plight.
UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions from UN member states.