Statement by the Commissioner-General of UNRWA Filippo Grandi

16 February 2012

16 February 2012
Jerusalem

Filippo GrandiI was deeply saddened to learn the news of the tragic deaths of children and a number of adults in a road traffic accident today near Kalandia. Initial reports say a large number of people, including children, were also injured. There is nothing more appalling to us and our communities than the needless deaths and suffering of innocent children. My condolences go out to the families and friends of the victims at this terrible time.

Background Information

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, and microfinance.

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. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 56 million.

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