UNRWA Schools in Gaza Benefit from Innovative Rainwater Reuse Project

09 May 2014

East Jerusalem

On 27 April, the Gulf Cooperation Council Gaza Reconstruction Fund (administered by the Islamic Development Bank) agreed to dedicate US$ 750,000 from the contribution of the Government of Qatar to fund an environment-friendly project in Gaza, enabling UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) schools to reuse rainwater. The rainwater will be collected in storage pits to be built in schools, and then used for the schools’ gardens and washrooms. The wastewater will subsequently be filtered and then pumped into the aquifer. This project will target 29 schools throughout the Gaza Strip, and contribute notably to improving the quantity and quality of the aquifer and mitigate damage caused by flooding.

Welcoming this contribution, Robert Turner, Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza, stated: “Given the severe water problems which Gaza is facing and will face in future, this project will be very valuable. Maximum use has to be extracted from every drop of water in Gaza and that’s what this project does. We are very grateful to the Government of Qatar which is providing the funds as part of its contribution to the Gulf Cooperation Council Gaza Reconstruction Fund, and to the Islamic Development Bank which is administering the funds, for all their support.”

 The project is a further example of UNRWA efforts to provide the best possible services for Palestine refugees in Gaza while finding innovative solutions to address some of the Gaza Strip’s most pressing environmental challenges. A new project aiming at providing solar energy to schools is currently under discussion which, if fully implemented, could make UNRWA a net provider of electricity to the Gaza Strip.

Background Information

UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions, and financial support has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, deepening poverty and conflict. As a result, the UNRWA General Fund, which supports core essential services and most staffing costs, operates with a large deficit. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large deficits, are funded through separate funding portals. 

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications
+972 (0)54 240 2659
+972 (0)2 589 0267
Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
+972 (0)54 216 8295
+972 (0)2 589 0724

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