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 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.

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

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