Urgent renewed UNRWA appeal for Gaza’s emergency programmes

13 September 2011

13 September 2011
Jerusalem

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA, has renewed its appeal for urgently needed emergency assistance in the impoverished Gaza Strip. The appeal for US$ 36 million comes amid protests against reductions in emergency activities that have already been caused by severe funding shortfalls, and against the backdrop of events elsewhere in the Arab world.

“Our emergency programmes in Gaza, face a critical funding situation. These programmes are separate from the Agency’s regular education, health and relief activities, and are specifically tailored to address the most urgent humanitarian needs of the most vulnerable refugees in Gaza. We call on our donors and other stakeholders to respond to this appeal as an urgent priority,” said UNRWA spokesman, Chris Gunness.

Of the US$ 36 million – US$ 11 million is required for creating temporary employment, US$ 16 million for food assistance, US$ 6 million for school feeding, and US$ 3 million will be spent on community mental health.

“UNRWA fears that without a substantial injection of cash towards its emergency work in Gaza, food rations to hundreds of thousands of refugees, including children in UN schools, may be reduced in the coming months and community health programmes will be threatened, including psycho-social support to 25,000 children,” said Gunness.

“The implications of this for stakeholders in the Middle East region and also for the poorest of the poor in Gaza are far reaching and must be of deep concern to all of us. That is why we in UNRWA are working unstintingly to secure funds for these desperately needed programmes. It is an unfortunate reality that until the blockade is lifted in full, allowing Gaza’s economy to recover, there will continue to be a need for international humanitarian assistance to support the people of Gaza.”

Download the full appeal (PDF)

Ends

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0267
c.gunness@unrwa.org

Sami Mshasha
UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0724
s.mshasha@unrwa.org

Adnan Abu Hasna
UNRWA Media Advisor, Gaza
Gaza mobile: +97(0)59 942 8061
Office: +97(0)8 288 7531
a.abu-hasna@unrwa.org

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.

For more information, please contact:

Gaza Emergency Donate Message 3
US$ 149 PROVIDES A FAMILY WITH MATTRESSES, BLANKETS & A SLEEPING MAT