Khan Younis Refugee Camp:
Where is Khan Younis Camp Located?
Khan Younis Camp is located about two kilometers from the sea in the south of the Gaza Strip. It was established in 1949 west of Khan Younis City, a major commercial centre which historically was a stopping-off point on the ancient trade route to Egypt. The original 35,000 residents, most of them from villages in the Beersheva area in the Negev, were at first housed in tents on a 549 dunum site.
The camp is divided into 13 blocks; some blocks are in low-lying areas which flood in winter. Most of the shelters are cement brick with asbestos roofs. There is no sewerage system in the camp. All shelters are supplied with water from municipal and private wells. The western block, "Block 1", is very close to the Israeli settlement area of Gush Qatif.
Prior to the closure of the Gaza Strip in September 2000 most of the refugees worked as labourers in Israel or locally in agriculture and fishing. In order to reach the sea or the farms in the Mawasi area beside the sea, workers must pass through an Israeli checkpoint at the entrance to the Gush Qatif settlement area. Other refugees run shops and workshops. A public market is held every Wednesday.
Since September 2000, UNRWA Relief and Social Services Department has counted 752 houses were demolished by the IDF operations in Khan Younis camp (1115 families/5,990 persons). 790 families found eligible for UNRWA rehousing assistance. UNRWA, so far, had handed over 135 houses to 146 families121 units to 135 families are under construction in Khan Younis area. 509 families, the remaining of the homeless eligible refugee families are still outstanding pending budget to be rehoused.
Khan Younis Camp Facts and Figures
- The registered refugee population is 63,219 persons;
- UNRWA operates 20 schools (14 elementary and 6 preparatory) for 18,680 pupils enrolled in 2004/2005. Only 3 schools are run in a single shift.
- UNRWA's health centre, including its maternity wards, underwent comprehensive maintenance in 1994. It is staffed by 68 health care workers assigned to morning and afternoon shifts. On average, 33,500 consultations are held there each month. In 1996 another health center was constructed in the nearby village of Ma’en and is staffed by 22 staff members and average of medical consultations per moth is 10,500.
- Some 3,112 families (14,798 refugees) are eligible for relief assistance under the Agency's special hardship programme.
- The women's programme centre was reconstructed in 1992, and an administrative committee, appointed by the Agency, runs the centre. Over 7,500 women and 2,500 children have participated in programmes offered yearly.
- A new extension was added to the youth activities centre, which offers sports, cultural and social programmes. Donations were received from numerous sources for this project.
- A community rehabilitation centre was established in 1993 in an old UNRWA building. It provides rehabilitation services to over 45 refugees with disabilities.