UNRWA in Syria Launches Massive Fundraising Campaign for Gaza

12 January 2009

12 January 2009


UNRWA and Syrian civil society groups announced a massive fund raising campaign today for the people of Gaza today. The announcement came two days after the conclusion of the meeting dubbed the First Ladies’ Gaza initiative, that took place in Istanbul..  This meeting comprised the First Ladies of Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Qatar and Pakistan who are leading the effort to unify the region in fundraising efforts for humanitarian relief for Palestinians in Gaza.

"The solidarity of the Syrian people with the Palestinians in Gaza has been clear from day one of the siege of Gaza. This campaign is a response to this call from the Syrian people to express their support and love for the Palestinian people", said Panos Moumtzis UNRWA Director in Syria.

The campaign is ambitious in its aims and coverage. On 13 January, 1.5 million children across the region, Syrian, Palestinian, Turkish and Qatari, will join hands in the courtyards of their schools, symbolizing their support for their peers in Gaza. With over 275 children killed in Gaza and 1333 injured, this event aims to communicate the compassion that these children feel towards their brothers and sisters in Gaza.

On Friday 16 January, a day-long telethon filmed live on Syrian Television will bring together Syrians from across the country in their solidarity for Gazans. A telethon is a live television broadcast that encourages viewers to telephone advertised numbers that will result in a small donation to the campaign. The telethon will report on spontaneous fund raising inspired by this campaign and will report on the funds raised minute by minute.  Famous actors, opinion leaders and musicians are joining this event, which is a first for Syrian television.

In order to meet the immediate needs of the people of Gaza UNRWA will requite a serious commitment of funds, costs are likely to run in to several hundreds of millions.  While the death toll is 880 with 3860 injured, UNRWA staff in Gaza expressed deep concern about the 413 women and children in critical health condition who are being cared for in Gaza’s desperately overstretched and undersupplied hospitals. Every Gazan is affected by the siege. 80% are entirely dependent on food support. 28,000 are homeless. One million Gazans are without electricity or water.

UNRWA has an extensive network of operations in Gaza with over 10,000 employees and is the largest humanitarian agency dedicated to the Palestinians. UNRWA is committed to ensuring that every pound raised for the Palestinians in Gaza is translated into direct support that is felt by the Gazans.

Donations can be made via the Commercial Bank of Syria, Branch 4
Account Name: UNRWA Support for Gaza
Account No: 123409-004

For information only                Not an official record

For further information please contact:

Hala Mukhles
Office: 6133035 ext 314
Mobile: 093-416591

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$ 100 million.

For more information, please contact: