Japanese relief package arrives in Gaza

05 February 2009

5 Feburary 2009

UNRWA received today in Gaza the first batch of a generous donation from the Government of Japan as part of a larger relief package which contains blankets, sleeping mats and plastic sheeting. These goods will be distributed among the conflict affected people of Gaza and are a most welcome and timely donation at a time when many Gazans are starting to rebuild their shattered lives.

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 $136 million. Japan traditionally supports UNRWA’s Food Aid activities for the poorest of the refugees in the region. Its contribution to this programme in 2008 amounted to over US$ 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 US$ 56 million.

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