Japan donates US$6.88 million for food aid to Palestine refugees

31 August 2010

31 August 2010
Amman

Japan donates US$6.88 million for food aid to Palestine refugeesThe government of Japan has announced a donation of US$6.88 million (600 million Japanese yen) towards food aid as part of UNRWA’s social safety net programme for 2010 and 2011.

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:

“This generous contribution is an example of the support of the government and people of Japan to the well-being of some of the most vulnerable Palestine refugees in the Middle East.

“This donation furthers more than 50 years of cooperation between UNRWA and the government of Japan, as we work to meet the humanitarian needs of the refugees and support their human development.

“It highlights Japan’s commitment to UNRWA, which I saw for myself in a recent visit to the country to explore ways to strengthen our partnership with the Japanese government.”

Grandi also referred to the Agency’s current deficit of US$84 million for its basic education, healthcare and social services programmes.

“I hope that other donors, including those in the region, will contribute to UNRWA’s General Fund and will help bridge the Agency’s huge deficit.”

The agreement was signed today at the UNRWA women’s programme centre in Amman New Camp, Jordan, by Mr Grandi and the Japanese State Secretary for Foreign Affairs H.E. Mr Koichi Takemasa.

Japan’s assistance to the Palestine refugees through UNRWA, which began in 1953, has amounted to almost US$600 million, including this year’s food aid contribution. Japan has been providing food aid to UNRWA since 1970, 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:

Sami Mshasha, UNRWA spokesperson:
s.mshasha@unrwa.org / +972 542 168 295

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$ 70.5 million.

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