Support from Islamic Relief Worldwide for Besieged Yarmouk

03 March 2014
Support from Islamic Relief Worldwide for Besieged YarmoukSupport from Islamic Relief Worldwide for Besieged Yarmouk

East Jerusalem

On 26 February, Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) signed an agreement for the provision of emergency assistance, worth a total of US$ 759,000, to Palestine refugees in Yarmouk camp and other Damascus areas characterized by severe hardship. The IRW contribution will enable distribution of food aid and emergency sanitary kits to more than 70,000 people. 

IRW made its generous contribution just two days after UNRWA Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi visited Yarmouk, where he saw thousands and thousands of people queuing in the desperate hope of receiving food aid. The undeniable signs of deprivation and severe malnutrition among the men, women and children who had defied the threat of snipers and stray bullets to make the journey to the food distribution point at the outskirts of the camp underscored the importance of reliable and stable humanitarian access.

IRW and UNRWA share a deep concern for the Palestine refugees trapped in Yarmouk camp or living in despair in other camps and temporary shelters in the Damascus area, based on the understanding that Palestine refugees in Syria are particularly vulnerable. Over the past three years, many Palestinian families have been forced into a pattern of repeated displacement as the conflict spread and previously safe areas became dangerous. Some 200,000 are displaced in the Damascus area alone, while 70,000 are displaced elsewhere in Syria.   

“Islamic Relief, recognizing the Syria crisis as one of the worst humanitarian disasters of the past decades, has worked since the beginning of the crisis to provide quick emergency aid in Syria and the affected regional countries. IR has extended and renewed its commitment to help Palestinian refugees in Syria through UNRWA, and appeals for unrestricted humanitarian access to communities trapped in the brutal conflict, ­ many of whom continue to suffer in besieged camps such as Yarmouk, in Damascus,” said Dr. Mohammed Alsousi, Head of Middle East Region for Islamic Relief.

“Knowing the massive need for emergency aid and food in particular to support Palestine refugee populations in Syria, we are grateful to receive the committed support of Islamic Relief Worldwide. Thanks to this new partnership between our two organizations, we will be able to make a life-saving difference for Palestine refugees in Syria”, said Lionello Boscardi, Chief of the UNRWA Partnerships Division upon signing the agreement. 

Background information on the Islamic Relief

Islamic Relief Worldwide is an international relief and development charity which envisages a caring world where people unite to respond to the suffering of others, empowering them to fulfil their potential. IRW is an independent Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) founded in the UK in 1984 by a group of concerned post-graduate students.

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$ 100 million.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
+972 (0)54 240 2659
+972 (0)2 589 0267
Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications & Arabic Language Spokesperson
+972 (0)54 216 8295
+972 (0)2 589 0724