The Gaza Strip is home to more than 1.1 million registered refugees, of which more than half a million live in the eight refugee camps established by UNRWA.
The refugee camps have one of the highest population densities in the world.
The blockade on Gaza has had a devastating impact on refugees across the Gaza Strip, including those living in camps.
Unemployment continues to be at unprecedented levels particularly affecting young people in Gaza.
Jabalia refugee camp
Jabalia is the largest of the Gaza Strip's eight refugee camps. It is located north of Gaza City, close to a village of the same name.
After the Arab-Israeli war in 1948, 35,000 refugees settled in the camp, most having fled from villages in southern Palestine.
Today, nearly 110,000 registered refugees live in the camp, which covers an area of only 1.4 square kilometers
The blockade on Gaza has made life more difficult for nearly all refugees in the camp. Unemployment levels have risen dramatically, and fewer families can provide for themselves. A staggering proportion of the population is dependent on UNRWA’s food and cash assistance, which gives these previously self-sufficient families the basic dignity of food on the table..
Rafah refugee camp
Rafah camp, established in 1949, is located in the south of Gaza, near the Egyptian border. In the year after Rafah camp was created, thousands of refugees moved from the camp to a nearby housing project at Tel El-Sultan, making the camp almost indistinguishable from the adjacent city.
Originally home to 41,000 refugees who had fled from the hostilities of the 1948 war, Rafah is now home to more than 104,000 refugees. High population density is a major problem, with people living in crowded shelters along extremely narrow streets..
Beach refugee camp
The third largest of the Gaza Strip’s eight refugee camps – and one of the most crowded – Beach camp is known locally as "Shati". The camp is on the Mediterranean coast in the Gaza City area.
Beach camp initially accommodated 23,000 refugees who fled from Lydd, Jaffa, Be’er Sheva and other areas of Palestine. The camp is now home to more than 87,000 refugees, who all reside in an area of only 0.52 square kilometres.
Streets and alleys in the camp are often very narrow and the area is considered among the most densely populated in the world
Khan Younis refugee camp
Khan Younis refugee camp is located about two kilometres from the Mediterranean coast, north of Rafah. It lies west of the town of Khan Younis, a major commercial centre and stop-off point on the ancient trade route to Egypt
After the 1948 war, 35,000 refugees took shelter in the camp, having fled their homes during the hostilities. Most were from the Be’er Sheva area. Today, Khan Younis camp is home to nearly 72,000 refugees.
Nuseirat refugee camp
A busy and crowded camp, Nuseirat is currently home to more than 66,000 refugees. Set in the middle of the Gaza Strip, Nuseirat is very near Bureij and Maghazi camps.
Nuseirat, which takes its name from a local Bedouin tribe, initially accommodated 16,000 refugees who fled from the southern districts of Palestine after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, including the coast and Be’er Sheva. Before the camp was formed, refugees had to live in a former British military prison in the area.
Bureij refugee camp
Bureij camp is a comparatively small refugee camp located in the middle of the Gaza Strip. The camp is near Maghazi and Nuseirat refugee camps.
Bureij camp was built in the 1950s to house approximately 13,000 refugees who until then had lived in British army barracks and tents. The refugees who settled in Bureij had mostly come from towns east of Gaza, such as Falouja. Today, the refugee population of Bureij is more than 34,000.
Maghazi refugee camp
Maghazi camp is located in the centre of the Gaza Strip, south of Bureij camp. It was established in 1949 and is one of the smaller camps in Gaza, both in terms of size and population.
Maghazi is characterised by narrow alleys and high population density, with more than 24,000 refugees housed in an area of no more than 0.6 square kilometres. Most of the refugees who took shelter in Maghazi as they fled the hostilities of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war originated from villages in central and southern Palestine.