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Palestinians protest UN food cuts in Gaza
Palestinians protest UN food cuts in Gaza
The UN agency for Palestinian refugees faces a funding deficit of $65m for 2014 [Mustafa Mohamad/Al Jazeera]
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Thousands of Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip Sunday renewed the demand for the relief agency, the UNRWA, to stop the cuts to food programme amid the economic blockade.

Protesters gathered outside the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) offices in Gaza City, banging pots and pans and raising banners against the cuts.

In recent months, the organization reduced the number of families in Gaza receiving urgent food assistance by about 65 percent, Shukri al-Arouqi, a representative of the refugees' popular committees in the central Gaza Strip, told Al Jazeera.

The protesters also expressed anger at UNRWA's poverty survey, which reviews the status of food aid recipients and decides whether to keep or remove them from the list of beneficiaries.

"The budget for the survey programme is about $16m a year… Why don't they use that money for more [food] coupons instead?" al-Arouqi said.

UNRWA faces a funding deficit of $65m this year. In its 2014 emergency appeal, the organisation stated that it needed more than $300m to keep all its programmes running. Last year, UNRWA cut emergency cash assistance for some 11,000 families in the Gaza Strip.

UNRWA has registered approximately 1.2 million Palestinians in Gaza as refugees, out of the 1.7 million total inhabitants of the coastal enclave.

Source: Al Jazeera English