Bookstore Glossary Library Links News Publications Timeline Virtual Israel Experience
Anti-Semitism Biography History Holocaust Israel Israel Education Myths & Facts Politics Religion Travel US & Israel Vital Stats Women
donate subscribe Contact About Home

Palestinian Refugees in the Gaza Strip

(Updated January 2013)

The Gaza Strip is home to a population of more than 1.5 million people, including 1.1 million Palestine refugees.

For the last decade, the socio-economic situation in Gaza has been in steady decline. Years of conflict and closure have left 80 per cent of the population dependent on international assistance. The tightened blockade, imposed following the Hamas takeover of Gaza in June 2007, has decimated lives and livelihoods, resulting in the impoverishment and de-development of a highly skilled and well-educated society. Despite adjustments made to the blockade by the government of Israel in June 2010, restrictions on imports and exports continue to severely hamper recovery and reconstruction.

Operating through more than 11,000 staff in over 200 installations across the Gaza Strip, UNRWA delivers education, health care, relief and social services, microcredit and emergency assistance to registered Palestine refugees.

West Bank UNRWA Camps

Number of Refugees
Deir el-Balah
Khan Younis

Recovery and reconstruction

In the aftermath of the Israeli military Operation Cast Lead in 2008/2009, UNRWA developed a comprehensive plan to reconstruct Gaza, promote economic recovery and address the long-term development needs of Palestine refugees, including educational infrastructure.

In recent years, the Agency has made significant improvements to its services in Gaza, such as its schools of excellence and excellent health services initiatives. It also better targets its assistance to the poorest of the poor through the implementation of a proxy-means tested poverty survey. UNRWA continues to:

  • improve the academic achievement, behaviour and values of school students
  • construct desperately needed infrastructure, including schools and shelters
  • improve the quality and targeting of its food and cash assistance to the poorest of the poor
  • promote gender equality and human rights for all
  • nurture entrepreneurship by supporting the private sector.

Facts and figures

  • 1,203,135 registered refugees
  • Eight camps
  • 243 schools with 218,048 pupils
  • Two vocational and technical training centres
  • 21 primary health centres
  • Six community rehabilitation centres
  • Seven women’s programme centre

Sources: UNRWA