Bahrain to build health clinic and library in Gaza

05 January 2011

5 January

Bahrain and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) are moving forward on two important reconstruction projects in Gaza: a health clinic and a school library.

A Bahrain delegation led by Dr Mustafa El Sayed, Secretary General of the Royal Charity Organisation (RCO), met Mr Peter Ford, Representative of the UNRWA Commissioner-General, to finalise arrangements for payment of the first instalment due in respect of the two projects. In the wake of the devastating Israeli attack on Gaza between December 2008 and January 2009, the RCO and UNRWA signed in April 2009 an agreement worth US $5.385 million providing for reconstruction of a health centre in Khan Younis refugee camp, a library at Al Fakhoura School in Jabalia camp, and a new school in Jabalia camp, in accordance with the relevant local Palestinian procedures.

Implementation of the projects has been delayed by the Israeli blockade of Gaza, preventing the entry of building materials. Approval has recently been received for the first two projects to go ahead and approval for the new school is expected shortly.

The RCO delegation and UNRWA discussed execution of the current projects, which are expected to be completed within one year, and the scope for further collaboration on new projects.

Peter Ford warmly thanked His Majesty Sheikh Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa and the RCO for all the help which Bahrain is providing to Palestinian refugees.

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 more than US$ 106  million.

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