05 October 2012
The European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) has announced a new donation of EUR 1.5 million to support the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Syria. This year in total, ECHO has contributed over EUR 11 million to the Agency’s humanitarian relief programmes. These contributions strengthen the Agency’s work supporting the most vulnerable in Syria, Lebanon, and the occupied Palestinian territory.
“ECHO has been a strong supporter of humanitarian aid to Palestine refugees for over a decade,” said UNRWA Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi. “Their support for emergency programming across these fields of operation could not come at a more critical time.”
This contribution helps ease the pressure on UNRWA’s humanitarian programmes at a time when the needs of the Agency’s beneficiaries are growing.
The latest ECHO funds follow an earlier contribution to UNRWA of EUR 8.75 million for humanitarian relief in the occupied Palestinian territory and EUR 1.215 million for the Agency’s work in Lebanon. The European Union is UNRWA’s largest multi-lateral donor.
UNRWA’s emergency work in Syria
As the conflict has intensified and spread, it is estimated that a total of 225,000 Palestine refugees in Syria are now directly affected, and EUR 1.5 million of the latest ECHO contribution will fund this work, which will be implemented by UNRWA’s 3,600 staff in Syria.
Food aid in Gaza
Six million euros of the ECHO contribution will be spent on food aid in Gaza where more than 735,000 refugees are food-insecure or vulnerable to food insecurity. UNRWA’s emergency food aid in Gaza includes targeted distribution for the most vulnerable and supplementary school feeding in Agency schools.
Food aid for displaced refugees in Nahr el-Bared Camp in Lebanon
Food aid has been at the core of UNRWA’s support for Palestine refugees displaced from Nahr el-Bared Camp in northern Lebanon since it was destroyed in 2007, and EUR 1 million of ECHO’s contribution will go towards supporting the approximately 26,000 affected people.
Protection programming in Lebanon and the West Bank
A total of EUR 215,000 of the ECHO contribution will be spent on UNRWA’s protection programmes in Lebanon to safeguard and advance the rights of Palestine refugees. In Lebanon, UNRWA protection programming focuses on economic rights including the right to work. In addition, EUR 750,000 will be spent on key protection areas in the West Bank, including forced displacement and the empowerment of communities at risk.
Job creation in the West Bank
Two million euros of the latest ECHO funds will be spent on UNRWA’s job creation programme to relieve economic hardship for 26,000 refugee families in the West Bank. The funds will help to alleviate poverty and restore dignity while also contributing to community development and protection.
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The European Union has been UNRWA’s largest multilateral donor since 1971, contributing annually to UNRWA's core programming budget and underpinning the Agency's ability to provide essential services to Palestine refugees residing in West Bank, Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. In the last 11 years, the EU has provided over EUR 1.3 billion in support of UNRWA’s work.
UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency assistance. Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. In 2012, the initial budgeted GF cash deficit was USD 75 million.
For more information, please contact:
Mobile: +972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0267
UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0724