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As an update on the six month partnership between Zakat Foundation and the US National Committee of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA USA), from August to December 2017, the two organizations completed the repair of 125 Palestine refugee families' homes in the Gaza Strip, who sustained minor or major damage as a result of the military activities in 2014.

Though it has been nearly four years since the cessation of hostilities in the Gaza Strip in 2014, the people of Gaza continue to bear the trauma and destruction of the unprecedented 50 day long Israeli military assault. Due to the high caseload, harsh economic conditions, and the ten year illegal blockade, preventing essential entry of construction supplies, the restoration efforts in Gaza have been slow.

In the face of these logistical challenges, UNRWA’s emergency shelter repair and construction program has provided assistance to over 77,761 Palestine refugee families for minor and severe repairs and shelter reconstruction cases to date.

Through the collaborative work of UNRWA USA and Zakat Foundation from August to December 2017, the shelter repair and reconstruction project positively impacted the lives of approximately 615 Palestine refugees, who all now live in a dignified, adequate, safe, and environmentally sound shelter.

Khalil Demir, founder and Executive Director of Zakat Foundation highlights the importance of supporting Palestine refugees, stating: “The sheer magnitude of tragedy and profusion of catastrophes that Palestinians of Gaza—a staggering 1.3 million refugees—endure every single day tops, or nearly so, every conceivable humanitarian category: poverty, orphan rate, child malnutrition, anemia, disease, and disabilities; energy and water deprivation, unemployment, relief dependence, and underdevelopment; and severely curtailed medical access, equipment, supplies, medicine, and treatment.”

In light of the UNRWA funding crisis, Demir adds: “In the midst of such epic tribulation, UNRWA is nothing less than a godsend for our donors’ house repair and rebuilding program for the 5,500 families still homeless from the massive 2014 assault. UNRWA is Gaza’s gold medal organization when it comes to coordinating housing repairs, gliding over all the considerable political construction material hurdles, while closely vetting every single material provider.”

Through strong partnerships, like that between UNRWA USA and Zakat Foundation, Palestine refugees in Gaza are slowly able to reconstruct their lives, following the essential rebuilding of their houses.

For more information on this project and its outcomes, please contact us using the information below, or visit our websites at zakat.org and unrwausa.org.    

CONTACTS: ZF Public Relations Coordinator, Nour Zein, (708) 233-0555, nour@zakat.org; UNRWA USA Director of Communications, Laila Mokhiber, (202) 223-3767, laila@unrwausa.org