Belgium Supports UNRWA Efforts in Syria

24 January 2014

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is grateful to the Kingdom of Belgium for responding to the emergency needs of Palestine refugees affected by the conflict Syria with a generous contribution of EUR 1.35 million (US$ 1.83 million). 

The conflict in Syria has had a devastating impact on the lives of more than 500,000 Palestine refugees in that country. More than 50 per cent have been displaced, either within Syria or outside its borders, and almost the entire population is estimated to be in need of emergency assistance. 

In December 2013, UNRWA issued its Syria Regional Crisis Response Plan for 2014, outlining its plans to strengthen Palestine refugees and help them weather the dangers of the conflict. The plan calls for a total of US$ 417.4 million to ensure vital emergency services in health care, education, relief and other programs. 

The Kingdom of Belgium, a member of the UNRWA Advisory Commission since 1953, is a major UNRWA partner, and has supported the Agency with over US$ 72 million since 2007 alone. Announcing the latest contribution as reports continue to document the suffering of Yarmouk, in Damascus, where 18,000 Palestine refugees have been trapped for months without assistance, the Government and people of Belgium have reiterated their commitment to supporting the most vulnerable people in their moment of need.

Background Information

UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions, and financial support has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, deepening poverty and conflict. As a result, the UNRWA General Fund, which supports core essential services and most staffing costs, operates with a large deficit. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large deficits, are funded through separate funding portals. 

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: 
+972 (0)2 589 0267
Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: 
+972 (0)2 589 0724