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20th May 2021

Ireland to provide €1.5 million in humanitarian aid for people in Gaza

Stephen Porzio

The estimated overall death toll in the territory now stands at 227.

Ireland is to provide €1.5 million in emergency support for people in the Gaza Strip, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has revealed.

According to reports, at the time of writing at least 227 Palestinians, including 64 children and 38 women, have been killed in the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Meanwhile, 12 people in Israel, including a five-year-old boy, a 16-year-old girl and a soldier, have also been killed.

The fighting was triggered by violence in Jerusalem and Israel has since carried out hundreds of airstrikes across Gaza, which is home to more than two million Palestinians.

Last Friday, an Israeli airstrike destroyed a high-rise building in Gaza City that housed offices of The Associated Press and other media outlets.

The building’s owner is said to have received a warning by Israeli forces prior to the attack, which allowed those inside to be evacuated in time.

Out of the €1.5 million in emergency support, €1 million will be allocated by Ireland to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides emergency food, water and sanitation supplies to Palestine refugees, as well as health and psychosocial services for 50,000 people sheltering in UNRWA-run schools.

UNICEF will also receive €500,000 to provide protection and medical and sanitation services to the thousands of children in acute need. This includes emergency psycho-social services to 5,000 children suffering trauma as a result of the hostilities.

The €1.5 million is being allocated in response to emergency appeals from UNRWA and UNICEF.

Minister Coveney said in a statement: “I am deeply concerned by the terrible humanitarian consequences of the ongoing violence in the occupied Palestinian territory. Two million people in Gaza, who were already suffering extreme hardship, including poverty and food insecurity, are now in the midst of another cycle of violence. The impact on the civilian population has been devastating.

“Today’s announcement of Irish Aid funding will support the UN in delivering emergency humanitarian supplies to those in acute need. The plight of children in this conflict is shameful and our support for UNICEF seeks to alleviate the brutal situation they are facing.

The Minister addressed the UN Security Council on Sunday, 16 May where he called for an immediate ceasefire in the conflict between Israel and Hamas, the protection of civilians and for humanitarian access to be permitted.

He also emphasised the obligations that both sides have under international humanitarian law.