Japan donates 600 million yen (US $7.7 million) for food aid to Palestine refugees

17 August 2011

17 August 2011

Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi with Japanese Ambassador to Jordan H.E. Junichi KosugeThe government of Japan has announced a donation of US$ 7.7 million (600 million Japanese yen) towards food aid as part of UNRWA’s social safety-net programme for 2011 and 2012. The programme, aimed at alleviating poverty among Palestine refugees, provides food aid and cash subsidies to more than a quarter of a million impoverished people in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. The Japanese contribution will help UNRWA provide vulnerable refugees with food including wheat flour and pulses. Families benefiting from the social safety-net receive food packages every three months, including sugar, rice, oil and milk powder.

UNRWA Commissioner-General, Filippo Grandi, welcomed the Japanese contribution, saying: “I would like to thank the government and people of Japan for this contribution especially this year when Japan was hit with the earthquake and tsunami.” He continued: “Food aid is one of two components of a programme targeting the neediest refugees.”

The agreement was signed today at the UNRWA Baqa’a Elementary Co-Ed School in Baqa’a camp, Jordan, by Mr Grandi and the Japanese Ambassador to Jordan H.E. Junichi Kosuge.

Speaking at the ceremony, HE Mr. Kosuge said: “Japan has been and will continue to be proactively involved in assistance to the Palestinian people and making efforts towards peace in the region.” He continued: “Japan considers UNRWA as an important partner to realise our diplomatic principle of human security and to promote peace in the region.”

Japan’s assistance to the Palestine refugees through UNRWA, which began in 1953, has amounted to approximately US$ 600 million, including this year’s food aid contribution. Japan has been providing food aid to UNRWA since 1967, and is among a number of donors that today regularly contribute to UNRWA’s social safety-net programme.

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For more information please contact:

Anwar Abu Sakieneh
Acting Public Information Officer
Mobile: 0795671888

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 more than US$ 106  million.

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