Greek Government Contributes USD 4.5 million for UNRWA’s health and education services in Gaza and Syria

07 April 2009

The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced a contribution of US$ 4 million for UNRWA’s Quick Response Plan for Gaza (QRP). This generous contribution represents a significant increase in funding to the Agency by the Government of Greece and is earmarked for the construction and equipping of a new Health Centre in Rafah as well as an Elementary Co-Educational School in Beit Hanoun area.

This contribution is the result of work by the Greek Church and the International Aid Fund within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is also the result of a telethon initiative undertaken by Greek national TV in an effort to raise funds for the Palestine refugees of Gaza in the aftermath of the war.

In addition, Greece will fund a EUR 450,000 project for the construction and equipping of an Elementary Co-Educational School in the impoverished area of Husseinieh, outside of Damascus. The school will serve as a primary school for refugee children in an area populated by some 25,000 Palestine refugees. UNRWA Commissioner General, Karen AbuZayd said: "This is not just an act of great generosity from the people and institutions of Greece. At a time when ordinary people in Gaza feel so isolated it will be a much appreciated act of solidarity and recognition of their plight. And of course, this money will also have a transforming impact on the refugees at the Husseinieh camp in Syria."

Over the past eight years until these latest contributions, the Government of Greece has supported UNRWA in its mission to assist Palestine refugees in the Middle East, contributing to the Agency almost USD 4.5 million.

Ends

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$ 68.2 million.

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