Saudi Committee dispatches large in-kind food donation to Gaza

31 July 2011

31 July 2011

On 31 July, a convoy of trucks carrying food to feed 56,000 families departed from the warehouses of the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization in Amman, bound for the Gaza Strip. This generous in-kind contribution from the Saudi Committee will provide poor Palestine refugee families in the Gaza Strip with essential food items such as flour, rice, sugar, oil and pulses to mitigate daily hardships. Al-Raya International Company has been appointed by the Saudi Committee to handle the shipment, which will be coordinated by the Jordan Hashemite Charitable Organization, which has kindly again offered its expertise and services to the Agency.

The donation will be used to support some of the most vulnerable Palestine refugee families requiring assistance under the Agency’s social safety-net programme (SSNP) in Gaza. UNRWA’s SSNP targets refugee families most in need in UNRWA’s five fields of operation through providing food and cash assistance to help them overcome poverty and meet their basic needs. Deterioration in the socio-economic conditions after years of access restrictions and blockade have left the majority of the Gaza population unemployed, poor, and dependent on aid. Official unemployment figures range from 39-50 per cent, with poverty rates as high as 70 per cent of the population.

UNRWA Representative of the Commissioner-General, Mr Peter Ford, warmly thanked the Saudi Committee for its support, saying: “UNRWA is highly appreciative of the commitment and generosity that the Saudi Committee has shown towards the Palestine refugees that UNRWA serves. This food assistance comes at a time of great need for the Agency and the refugees in Gaza as UNRWA is currently facing critical shortages in its food distribution to the poorest. We thank HRH Prince Nayef bin AbdulAziz Al Saud, Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Interior, Supervisor-General of the Saudi Committee, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and its people for supporting UNRWA.”

Established in 2000, the Saudi Committee is a committed supporter of UNRWA, generously contributing to the Agency US$ 6.5 million in 2009 and almost US$ 4 million in 2010. The Saudi Committee and UNRWA are currently exploring future potential avenues of cooperation in education and food.

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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