UNRWA opens new health centre in Khan Eshieh

28 April 2009

28 April 2009

Damascus

Ms. Maura Connelly, the Chargé d’Affaires of the United States Embassy in Syria, inaugurated a new health centre for Palestine refugees in the Khan Eshieh Camp, today, 28 April 2009.

The United States government provided UNRWA with US$ 311,500 to replace an old dilapidated building. The new health centre will provide health services to approximately 19,000 Palestine refugees living in the Khan Eshieh Camp. It is one of 23 UNRWA health centres in Syria.

Ms. Karen Koning AbuZayd, UNRWA Commissioner-General thanked the US government for its contribution saying: "We are immensely grateful to the US government for its generous contribution. This contribution sends a powerful signal of support from the US to the Palestine refugees that we serve." She also expressed her appreciation to the Syrian government for the efforts it exerts in supporting programmes.

Ms. Connelly highlighted that the US Government has been supporting a number of UNRWA projects including school and health centre reconstruction. "This contribution is a further evidence of the US government‘s commitment to assist Palestine refugees. We appreciate the hard work and dedication of UNRWA staff to support the Palestine refugees and thank the Syrian government for its generosity in hosting the refugees these many years. " Connelly said.

Mr. Ali Mustafa, Director-General of the General Authority for Palestine Refugees (GAPAR) expressed his thanks to both the Syrian government for its consistent support and to the US government for this generous contribution. He reiterated the importance of providing UNRWA with ongoing support in order for the Agency to serve Palestine refugees until a final settlement to their problem is achieved.

The United States is UNRWA‘s largest bilateral donor. In 2008, the US government provided US $185 million to UNRWA‘s programs in the region.

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$ 56 million.

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