With the violence in Syria intensifying by the day, the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is stepping up its emergency fundraising appeal for the country with a TV advertising campaign.
The campaign aims to raise awareness of the plight of the most vulnerable civilians in Syria, including the 500,000 Palestine refugees in the country.
With generous support from private companies in the UK and the Arab world, the Agency is now airing English and Arabic television commercials on major channels in those regions. The campaign will soon be extended to countries such as Spain and the US.
UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said: “Our partners have worked with us to produce and broadcast an appeal that is truly compelling. We are so grateful.”
Alistair Wayne, CEO of UNRWA’s UK partner Media Managers, said: “The opportunity to help people who find themselves in such desperate circumstances was really compelling.
“Working with UNRWA is a tremendous honour, and we sincerely hope that the campaign will help make a difference to reduce the suffering in Syria.”
The ongoing violence in Syria has affected hundreds of thousands of civilians, including Palestine refugees. In recent months, thousands of people have taken shelter in some UNRWA school buildings; many Palestine refugees and a number of UNRWA’s own staff members have fallen victim to the violence.
UNRWA has been running an emergency appeal for Syria since July of this year, in which it has called urgently for donations via social media, news outlets and its partner organisations in the US and Europe. The Agency hopes to raise the funds desperately needed to provide shelter, food and medicine for those directly affected by the armed conflict in Syria. So far nearly USD 350,000 has been raised.
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UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and 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. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions.
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, supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the budget deficit stands at USD 37 million.
In Syria, UNRWA’s 3,500 staff on the ground run emergency programmes as well as 118 schools, 23 clinics, and five women’s centres.
All UNRWA’s statements and updates on the Syria crisis can be accessed on the Agency’s website, here.
To find out more about UNRWA or to donate to any of its appeals, visit the Agency’s website.