UNRWA and EU inaugurate Khan Dunoun Sewage Project

28 April 2009

28 April 2009

Damascus

Ambassador Vassilis Bontosoglou, Head of the Delegation of the European Commission to Syria and UNRWA Commissioner- General Karen Koning AbuZayd inaugurated, along with Syrian government officials, European Commission and UNRWA staff members and Palestine refugees, the completion of Khan Dunoun Camp’s Water Supply and Sanitation Project.

“This project exemplifies UNRWA’s fierce work towards ensuring the right of every Palestinian family to have decent housing and highlights the Agency’s readiness to launch successful partnerships with relevant actors like the European Commission and the Government of Syria in order to improve Palestine refugees’ living conditions” said AbuZayd.

The Khan Dunoun water supply and sanitation project has provided every household in Khan Dunoun with wastewater discharge and water supply connections. The project comprised the construction of 14 km of wastewater collection system, 2.2 km of main wastewater conveyor pipe, 20 km of water supply networks, 400 m³ capacity elevated water tank and 10 km of asphalted roads. In addition, the project included the drilling of a 550 m-deep water well. The € 2.1 project was financed by the European Commission and implemented by UNRWA in collaboration with the Syrian Ministry of Housing and Construction.

“It is by joining efforts with UNRWA and local and central authorities that the European Commission envisions a better and brighter future for Palestine refugees in Syria,” expressed Mr. Bontosoglou.

Mr. Ali Mustafa, Director- General, GAPAR expressed his appreciation for the EC continued support to the Syrian government for their constant efforts to improve the living conditions of the Palestine refugees.

This project is part of a larger € 8 million EC-project aiming to prepare the studies and designs for regional water supply systems and two large regional wastewater treatment facilities serving a population of 400,000 living in the south west part of rural Damascus.

Khan Dunoun Camp, some 20 kilometres south of Damascus, is one of the poorest refugee camps in Syria. It was established in 1950 and has a total population of 11,000 refugees.

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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, 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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