Greek donation opens new health centre for Gaza refugees

08 May 2012

8 May 2012
Jabalia, Gaza Strip

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) opened a new health centre today, serving Palestine refugees across the Northern Gaza Strip. The Saftawi Health Centre, constructed through a donation from Greece, will serve over 70,000 refugees in one of the most densely populated areas of the occupied Palestinian territory.

Robert Turner, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Gaza, welcomed the contribution. “We are grateful for the generous contribution from Greece, which will allow us to provide quality health care to some of the most vulnerable Palestine refugees in Gaza.”

Immediately following the devastation of the 2008-2009 Gaza War, the Greek government confirmed the USD 2.5 million donation for the health facility. Due to the ongoing blockade of construction materials into the Gaza Strip, completion of the project was delayed until today.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Consul General Sotirios Athanassiou stressed that Greece remains a strong supporter of UNRWA and its humanitarian and human development work throughout the region.

“Supporting refugees’ health is one of the most important elements of our support”, he said, “and this project constitutes one more token of friendship and solidarity with the Palestinian people.”

With a staff of 74 specialists, the health centre will dramatically improve access to outpatient care, dental care, and rehabilitation for refugees with disabilities. These services are complemented by specialists in maternal and family health, preventive medicine, as well as laboratory and radiological services.

Background information:

UNRWA provides assistance, protection and advocacy for almost five million registered Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the occupied Palestinian territory, pending a solution to their plight. The Agency’s services encompass education, health care, social safety-net, camp infrastructure and improvement, community support, microfinance and emergency response, including in times of armed conflict. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by contributions from UN member states.

For more information, please contact:

Chris 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 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: