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GUE/NGL wins plenary slot for debate on urgent assistance to UNRWA in Gaza

GUE/NGL has today succeeded in getting an urgent discussion on the financial situation of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) added as an item to next week's European Parliament plenary agenda.

UNRWA, the agency that provides relief and assistance to Palestinian refugees, announced on 27 January that it would have to suspend financial assistance to tens of thousands of Palestinians to repair their homes or pay rent in Gaza, which was devastated by Israeli attacks last year.

The agency had issued an urgent appeal for US $ 100 million for the first quarter of 2015 alone. In total US $ 720 million is currently required to rebuild the Gaza strip following Israel's deadly military onslaught in July and August last year when 96,000 family homes were destroyed.

Despite some US $ 5.4 billion being pledged in October at the Cairo conference, to date the agency has only received US $ 135 million.

Thousands of families continue to suffer from a lack of shelter amid severe winter, with many families literally sleeping in the rubble and children dying of hypothermia. About 12,000 people continue to live in UNRWA schools. The agency is concerned that displaced Palestinians will flock back to the shelters if they cannot help them pay their rent.

The debate, which will take place next Tuesday 10 February, will include a statement from Federica Mogherini, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Commission Vice-President.