Khalaf Al Habtoor supports Palestine refugees in Syria and the West Bank

11 October 2012

7 October 2012
Amman

Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, the Chairman of the UAE’s Al Habtoor Group, and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) have signed a sponsorship agreement to support deprived Palestinians in Syria and the West Bank.

With a generous contribution of $280,000, Al Habtoor will help UNRWA to provide food and basic needs for the many thousands of Palestinian refugee families living in Syria who are caught up in the conflict.

The contribution will also be used to hire hundreds of workers to help farmers replant olives trees damaged by settlers in the West Bank and cultivate land in areas threatened by settlement expansion.

Al Habtoor is a well known philanthropist and supporter of Palestinians. In November 2011, Al Habtoor was awarded UNRWA’s prestigious ‘Shield of Merit’ in recognition of his humanitarian work in Palestine.

The Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Filippo Grandi, said, “Mr Al Habtoor’s contributions will help feed thousands of Palestinians caught up in the terrible situation in Syria, and provide employment for young Palestinians on the West Bank while simultaneously helping farmers suffering from the depradations and encroachments of settlers.”

Al Habtoor commented, “The conflict in Syria has taken the focus off the situation in Palestine. It is important not to forget these men, women and children who are suffering because of a new crisis in the region. I hope my contribution will help offer some relief and hope to the many families in need.”

He added, “The UNRWA is playing a vital role in assisting, protecting and representing refugees in the Middle East and occupied Palestine, but it needs more contributions to continue doing its job.”

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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, microfinance and emergency assistance. 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. In 2012, the initial budgeted GF cash deficit was USD 75 million.

For more information please contact:

Peter Ford
Representative of the UNRWA Commissioner-General
Office: +962 (0) 65 80 8521
p.ford@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.

For more information, please contact: