Bahrain contributes $ 5.4 million for first UNRWA reconstruction project in Gaza

21 April 2009

Amman - UNRWA and the Bahrain Royal Charity Organization have signed an agreement under which Bahrain will finance three reconstruction projects in Gaza. The projects comprise the reconstruction, furnishing and equipping of the health centre of the Khan Younis refugee camp, a new library, open to the public, at Al Fakhoura school in Jabalia Camp, and a new preparatory boys school also in Jabalia. Al Fakhoura School suffered severe damage during the Israeli assault on Gaza in January. Over 40 refugees sheltering in it were killed and over 50 injured in an incident which with others is the subject of UN enquiry.

The agreement, which is worth $5.4 million and represents the first major donation Bahrain has made to UNRWA, was signed by Dr Mustafa Al Sayed, Secretary General of the Bahrain Royal Charity Organisation, and Peter Ford, Representative of the Commissioner-General of UNRWA.
Commenting on the agreement, Karen Koning AbuZayd, UNRWA’s Commissioner-General, said "We have heard pledges mentioned but this is the first specific agreement for reconstruction in Gaza which we have signed. As such it not only demonstrates the generosity of King Hamad and the Bahraini people, and their swiftness to react, but it is also a timely reminder of the urgency of lifting the inhumane restrictions on access of building materials which are preventing us getting on with the desperately needed repair and rebuilding of our facilities in Gaza. It would be criminal, with everything ready to go, not to allow us to get on quickly now with carrying out these Bahraini projects."

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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 million.

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