$6.5 Million for UNRWA from Saudi Arabia

19 January 2009

19 January 2009

East Jerusalem

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Campaign for the Relief of the People of Gaza is sending urgently to UNRWA $6 million to provide food for the people of Gaza. It is also sending $500,000 to buy fuel which UNRWA provides to local authorities and utilities in Gaza to pump water and incinerate refuse, both essential operations in prevent outbreaks of disease.

The funds for food will enable UNRWA to provide food packages to 550,000 people for sixty days.

Welcoming the donations, Karen Koning Abu Zayd, Commissioner-General of UNRWA, said: “ This is an enormous help to UNRWA and the people of Gaza, coming at a time of dire need. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, both government and people, have been generous in the past to Gaza, the Saudi Committee for the Support of the Palestinian People having donated last summer $5 million for Gaza, as well as $1 million for refugees in Lebanon. In the name of the Agency and the refugees I want to express deep and sincere thanks to His Majesty the King for these generous donations by his Campaign for the Relief of the Palestinian People. His Majesty’s concern for the suffering of Palestinians is of course well known. I also wish to thank His Royal Highness Prince Nayef Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Minister of the Interior and Supervisor General of the Saudi Committee for the Relief of the Palestinian People, whose concern for Palestinians is also well known. This generous donation from the King‘s Campaign helps to get us off to a good start on the huge task of restoring UNRWA services and helping Gaza to recover from the catastrophe which has hit it".”

In June 2008 the Saudi Committee for the Support of the Palestinian People donated $5 million to buy food for Gazans and $1 million to buy medicines and other medical items for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

Saudi Arabia has also financed major housing projects in Gaza, unfortunately unfinished because of the blockade. The Saudi Fund for Development is funding a major housing project at Rafah in Gaza, work on which has been suspended for months because of the restrictions imposed by Israel on the importation of building materials into Gaza.

Ends

For more information please contact

Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
Mobile: +972-(0)54-240-2659
Office: +972-(0)2-589-0267

Sami Mshasha
UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson
Mobile: +972-(0)54-216-8295
Office: +972 (0)2-589-0724
    

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$ 68.2 million.

For more information, please contact:

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provides a family fuel for 3 months