Japan donates US$10 million for Palestine refugees

23 January 2011

Funds for education and health projects in Gaza and West Bank

23 January 2011
East Jerusalem

Japan has donated US$10 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The money will support UNRWA’s provision of education, health and social services to refugees in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Japan’s ambassador to Jordan, H.E. Mr. Tetsuo Shioguchi, and UNRWA Commissioner-General, Filippo Grandi, announced the new funding during a visit to the Women‘s Programme Centre at Jabal el-Hussein refugee camp in Amman today.

Japan’s donation will help fund the Agency’s 335 schools in the occupied Palestinian territory, where UNRWA provides nine years of free education to registered refugee children. Education is the largest UNRWA programme, accounting for more than half of the Agency’s budget.

The money will also fund maternal and child health services, including the Agency’s school health programme, along with social services programmes for women, children and young people. US$ 6.8 million will support projects in Gaza, with the remaining US$ 3.2 million allocated to the West Bank.

Mr Grandi said: “This generous contribution allows us to continue to educate almost 270,000 refugee children in our schools in Gaza and the West Bank, and provide health and social services to this particularly vulnerable population. We thank the government and people of Japan for this crucial support for refugees in the occupied Palestinian territory, who are living under extremely difficult conditions.”

The Japanese Ambassador, H.E. Mr. Tetsuo Shioguchi, said: “Japan is very concerned about the impact of UNRWA’s serious financial crisis and hopes this grant will contribute to alleviating the hardship of Palestine refugees. Japan will continue to support education and primary health care because we have the strong belief that the Palestinian children hold the future of Palestine in their hands.”

Japan has been a consistent supporter of UNRWA. Japan’s assistance to the Palestine refugees through UNRWA, which began in 1953, has amounted to more than US$ 600 million.

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For more information please contact:
Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0267
c.gunness@unrwa.org

Sami Mshasha
UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0724
s.mshasha@unrwa.org

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.

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