The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Simon Coveney, T.D., today announced €1.5 million in emergency support for people in the Gaza Strip in response to the deteriorating humanitarian situation.
Minister Coveney said:
“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.
“At the UN Security Council on Sunday, I called for an immediate ceasefire and the protection of civilians before even more lives are lost and homes destroyed. I urge Israel to ensure unimpeded, regular and predictable access for humanitarian goods and personnel. I urge Hamas and other militant groups to ensure that humanitarian corridors can be agreed within the Gaza Strip. The UN and humanitarian partners must be permitted to bring in vital food, fuel and medical supplies, and to deploy humanitarian personnel safely.”
The Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora Colm Brophy, T.D., added:
“Ireland is deeply concerned about the severe humanitarian consequences resulting from the shocking escalation of violence in Gaza. This allocation of €1.5 million is in response to emergency appeals from UNRWA and UNICEF. It will allow UNRWA and UNICEF to carry out vital work in support of vulnerable civilians.
"I pay tribute to staff from the UN and other humanitarian agencies who are providing support under very dangerous circumstances.”
€1 million will be provided to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides services to Palestine refugees, for emergency food, water and sanitation supplies and health and psychosocial services for 50,000 people sheltering in UNRWA-run schools.
UNICEF will receive €500,000 for child protection, medical and sanitation services to thousands of children in acute need. This includes emergency psycho-social services to 5000 children suffering trauma as a result of the hostilities.
UNICEF, which is operating in Gaza and the West Bank, launched an emergency appeal yesterday (18 May) seeking support for the provision of emergency services to children and families impacted by the crisis. UNRWA today launched an appeal for €38 million.
In March 2021, Ireland provided €6 million to UNRWA for its ongoing work with Palestine refugees in the occupied Palestinian territory, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.
UNRWA reports that as of 18 May, 47,000 people who have been displaced by the hostilities in Gaza are now taking refuge in 58 schools. Fifty educational facilities, including 45 schools, have been damaged in Gaza. Six hospitals and eleven primary health care centres have been damaged, with one centre suffering severe damage. Water, sanitation and hygiene, and power infrastructure has also been severely affected, impacting the safe water supply for over 800,000 and reducing power supply to 3-4 hours a day.
Minister Coveney addressed the UN Security Council on Sunday, 16 May. He called for cessation of hostilities, protection of civilians and humanitarian access, and emphasised obligations that all sides have under international humanitarian law. At an extraordinary meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council on 18 May, Minister Coveney underlined the need for an immediate ceasefire and the urgent facilitation of humanitarian assistance.