UNRWA opens two Japan-funded health centres in Gaza

23 November 2011

23 November 2011
Gaza

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA, has opened two health centres in Jabalia and Nuseirat in the Gaza Strip. Both centres were funded by the government of Japan at a cost of nearly US$ 2 million and together they serve a refugee population of over 175,000 people.

“I am delighted that amid all the difficulties we are facing in Gaza, UNRWA can announce the opening of these two centres that provide vital services to some of the most disadvantaged people in the Middle East. I give great thanks to the people and government of Japan for their generosity,” said UNRWA health director Dr Akihiro Seita speaking on behalf of the Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi.

The centres provide maternal and child health services, family planning, substantial outpatient care, mobile health teams that visit local schools and a range of other health services.

“This project has been suspended until the partial relaxation of the blockade last year, which necessitated our re-programming in order to cover the cost hike. But we are still glad to have been able to complete in rebuilding and expanding space of this health centre along with West Nuseirat Health Centre,” said Mr Naofumi Hashimoto, representative of Japan to the Palestinian Authority.

Japan has a strong track record in support of UNRWA’s emergency budget, which funded the Jabalia and Nuseirat health centres. In 2005 Japan gave some US$ 15 million for the reconstruction of homes that were demolished by the Israelis in the south of Gaza. In 2006 and 2007, Japan gave nearly US$ 5 million to UNRWA’s emergency work.

Japan is the ninth largest donor to UNRWA with an annual contribution last year of over US$ 20 million. Japan’s contribution to UNRWA to date amounts to approximately US$ 600 million since Japan initiated its assistance to Palestinians through UNRWA in 1953. UNRWA provides relief, social services and emergency programmes for nearly five million Palestine refugees until a just and lasting resolution to their plight is achieved.

Ends

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$ 70.5 million.

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