Japan supports UNRWA’s Gaza Flash Appeal

13 January 2009

13 January 2009

The Government of Japan has contributed US$ 3 million to UNRWA in response to its Flash Appeal for Gaza. This contribution is part of a package of US$10 million in aid, which was announced on 3 January by Prime Minister, Mr. Taro Aso. The assistance will mainly consist of food commodities. It will help UNRWA alleviate the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Japan has been a long-time partner of UNRWA, supporting all the Agency’s funds and efforts in all its five fields of operation. Over the last eight years, Japan has contributed a total of $136 million. The Commissioner-General expressed her gratitude for the timely and generous donation of the Government of Japan. She said: "We know that we can count on the support of this country, especially in times of crisis. Japan has always been a friend of UNRWA."

Japan traditionally supports UNRWA’s Food Aid activities for the poorest of the refugees in the region. Its contribution to this programme in 2008 amounted to over US$ 5.7 million. The government of Japan has also assisted UNRWA’s Emergencies in Lebanon and has recently provided staff to the Agency.

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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