UNRWA Commissioner-General inaugurates new facilities in Sbeineh Camp

29 September 2009

29 September 2009

Damascus

Dr. Charles F. Hunter, American Chargé d’Affaires and Dr Andreas Reinicke, German Ambassador to Syria, cutting the ceremonial ribbon.

UNRWA Commissioner-General, Karen Koning AbuZayd, inaugurated new facilities in Sbeineh Camp today, including two schools, a health centre, and a community development centre. The inauguration was held with partners from the Syrian Government, as well as representatives of the American and German Embassies to Syria and UNRWA staff members and members of the local refugee community.

"This very tangible support also represents an important manifestation of the American and German commitment to the well-being of Palestine refugees and to the work of UNRWA. Nothing is more essential to the future of Palestine refugees than ensuring basic services – education, health, social support – all contribute to the development of healthy, active and educated communities", said Ms. AbuZayd.


Dr. Charles F. Hunter, American Chargé d’Affaires planting a tree at the schools


Dr Andreas Reinicke, German Ambassador, planting a tree at the schools.

Ms. AbuZayd thanked the American and German Governments for their generous contributions. A total investment amounting to USD 2 million was made by both Governments in addition to a contribution from the United Arab Emirates’ Red Crescent Society.

She went further, adding, "It is with the continuous support of the international community, through donations such as this one, that UNRWA is able to fulfill its mandate and provide a better and more dignified livelihood to the Palestine refugee community in Syria and beyond."

The new school buildings will benefit over 3,000 students. In addition, the health centre, will help increase the level of access to medical available to patients, currently estimated at 4,600 per month. The German and American funded project also includes a completely new women’s programme centre, that will support community-based initiatives like income-generation projects and disability services.

"Germany is committed to UNRWA’s work and to a brighter future for Palestinian refugees", expressed H.E. Dr Andreas Reinicke, German Ambassador to Syria.

"It is a fine example of the U.S. commitment to supporting UNRWA and improving the daily lives of the Palestine refugees throughout the region," said H.E. Dr. Charles F. Hunter, Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy in Damascus.

Mr. Ali Mustafa, Director-General of the General Authority for Palestinian Arab Refugees (GAPAR) thanked the Syrian Government for its continuous support to the improvement of Palestine refugee living conditions and the German and U.S. Governments for their generous contributions.

For information only Not an official record

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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$ 68.2 million.

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