UNRWA receives US$34 million from Kuwait for Gaza refugees

13 July 2009

13 July 2009

Gaza

UNRWA has received a payment of US$34 million from Kuwait to help support refugees in Gaza still reeling from the December-January Israeli onslaught and continuing blockade.

The Amir of Kuwait, His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, announced during the Arab Economic Summit held in Kuwait in January that Kuwait was pledging this amount to cover the entirety of UNRWA’s original flash appeal issued in the first days of the emergency. Due to the severity of the assault and its reverberations UNRWA was subsequently forced to launch a second appeal which took the total amount of funds requested to $345 million, of which only about half has been raised.

Welcoming the arrival of the funds the Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Karen Koning AbuZayd, said: "We are profoundly grateful to the Amir, government and people of Kuwait for this magnificent donation. It comes at a time when, because of the scale of the devastation and the tightness of the continuing blockade, the people of Gaza are desperate and on the border of despair. This donation will help UNRWA with its task of alleviating that suffering through the provision of food, emergency shelter, emergency medical services and cash help for the poorest. Until, however, the blockade is lifted and Gazans are allowed to breathe and redevelop their economy, the international community will have no choice but to continue to keep Gaza on a life support machine of emergency relief."

ENDS

For more information please contact Peter Ford, Representative of the Commissioner-General

UNRWA – Amman, Jordan +962 (6) 5808 521.
 

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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