Ging lauds humanitarian efforts of Saudi Campaign

05 July 2010

Amman
30 June 2010

On 27 June, Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza, Mr John Ging, welcomed the final shipment of flour donated generously by the Saudi Campaign for the Relief of the Palestinian People for Gaza (Saudi Campaign) in a ceremony at UNRWA’s warehouse in the Gaza Strip. The 1,909-tonne flour donation, which has all arrived in Gaza, is part of the Saudi Campaign’s latest pledges to support 1.1 million refugees who continue to live under a crippling siege and immense hardship. The Saudi Campaign also contributed $1.5 million and $374,841 to purchase and equip health centres in Gaza and the West Bank with medicines and medical items.

During the ceremony, Mr Ging lauded the Saudi Campaign for its unrelenting efforts to aid the refugees of the Gaza Strip and extended his warmest gratitude to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, who launched the King’s Campaign in Support of the People of Gaza, HRH Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, and HRH Prince Nayef Bin Abdulaziz, Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Interior, Chairman of the Saudi Campaign and Supervisor General of the Saudi Committee for the Support of the Palestinian People, which has staffed the Campaign and the people of Saudi Arabia.

UNRWA’s Commissioner-General, Mr Filippo Grandi, also thanked the Saudi Campaign and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its initiative to support UNRWA and Palestine refugees in Gaza and welcomed the Kingdom’s new role as Chair of UNRWA’s Advisory Commission:

“I would like to echo Mr John Ging’s words and reiterate UNRWA’s gratitude to HRH King Abdullah, HRH Prince Nayef, the Saudi Campaign and the people of Saudi Arabia for these gestures of humanitarianism. The global financial crisis has left countries across the world hard-hit but the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has truly come through for UNRWA and the Palestine refugees in the past two years. In 2010, I look to the Kingdom, the Chair of UNRWA’s Advisory Commission, to help UNRWA through its worst financial difficulties so that we many continue supporting 4.7 million refugees in the Near East.”

Of particular concern to both Mr Grandi and Mr Ging is UNRWA’s operational shortfall and specifically, the consequences for UNRWA’s largest programme, education. In September, more than 206,000 refugee pupils will be attending school in the Gaza Strip but the funding shortage continues to be a cause of anxiety. In the Gaza Strip, where the blockade forces 1.5 million Palestinians to live in utterly desperate conditions, education is a necessary escape for Gaza’s 206,000 children.

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$ 69 million.

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