Despite the fact that world nations pledged $5.4 billion to rebuild the Hamas stronghold of Gaza, the UN on Thursday claimed it's running out of money to house families in the area, and doubled the estimate of homes damaged in Hamas's latest terror war on Israel.
"Unless the situation changes urgently, we will run out of funds in January, meaning we will not be able to provide rental subsidies to many affected families nor provide the support required to carry out repairs," said Robert Turner, the operations director for UNRWA.
He said more than 96,000 homes were damaged or destroyed in the 50-day war, more than twice the UN's original estimate. The high level of destruction is due to the fact that Hamas heavily entrenched its terrorist network in the civilian infrastructure of Gaza.
Based on satellite imagery and preliminary field work immediately after the war, "we estimated about 42,000 refugee family shelters had been affected by the war," Turner said.
Turner said more than 7,000 homes were completely lost, affecting some 10,000 families. An additional 89,000 homes were damaged, about 10,000 of them severely.
UNRWA has estimated $720 million will be needed to provide rental subsidies to families with no alternative shelter, to rebuild destroyed homes and repair damaged ones. However, only some $100 million has been pledged to UNRWA specifically.
Without additional funds, "tens of thousands of refugee families will find themselves with inadequate shelter and no support during the hardest months of winter," Turner said.
UNRWA facilities were used on numerous occasions to store weapons and attack the IDF.
In one case three soldiers were murdered by explosives built into the wallsof a UNRWA clinic which sat on terror tunnel entrances; in at least two other cases Hamas rocket stockpiles were found in UNRWA facilities - and UNRWA workers promptly returned the weapons to the terrorists.
UNRWA's symbiotic relationship with Hamas was documented in an October video by journalist David Bedein entitled "UNRWA Goes to War."
During the war, 73 Israelis were killed and around 2,200 Arab residents of Gaza. A detailed study after Operation Protective Edge later proved 49% of the casualties in Gaza were terrorists, meaning the IDF achieved a 1:1 civilian to combatant ratio almost unprecedented in urban warfare. By contrast, 96.5% of US drone strikes in the Middle East were shown to have killed civilians.
AFP contributed to this report.