Life in Gaza: Report from the Unitied Nations

It is difficult to separate truth from propaganda when learning about the middle east and the Israeli/ Palestinian conflict. People on both "sides" believe the statistics put forth by the "other side" are full of lies. So I decided to go to the United Nations, thinking that this would be some of the most accurate information available.

Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict, the United Nations established the UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, to carry out direct relief programs for Palestine refugees. Although originally envisioned as a temporary organization, because of continuing crisis and ongoing refugee status of the Palestinian people, the UNRWA continues to be the main provider of basic education, health, relief and social services to over 4.6 million registered Palestine refugees in the Middle East.

It is significant to note that the UNRW has served four generations of Palestinian refugees. If we can't trust the information coming out of this agency, then I don't know where else we can go for it.

When you go to the Gaza Refugee Camp Profiles, you can get a general idea of the living conditions and history of each of the camps, though I could not find certain specifics, such as nutritional intake or childhood morbidity rates. Still, the site is informative. Once you go to the site, you can click on the interactive map to get a "snap shot" of each camp. Information is from 2006. From everything I have read, the conditions of the camps have grown worse since then.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs also publishes news and reports of the current crisis:

Dire humanitarian situation looms in Gaza 12/29/08

Gaza health services on brink of collapse 12/31/08

Gaza rockets cause shock, fear in southern Israel 1/02/09

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Comment by Ellen Pham on January 3, 2009 at 8:40pm
If you are moved by this current crisis, what next? One step might be to contact your US senators and representatives. There is a wonderful site, Open Congress, that will help you look up contact information as well as help you track bills that are now going through our congress.

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