Bahrain to build health clinic and library in Gaza
Bahrain and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) are moving forward on two important reconstruction projects in Gaza: a health clinic and a school library.
A Bahrain delegation led by Dr Mustafa El Sayed, Secretary General of the Royal Charity Organisation (RCO), met Mr Peter Ford, Representative of the UNRWA Commissioner-General, to finalise arrangements for payment of the first instalment due in respect of the two projects. In the wake of the devastating Israeli attack on Gaza between December 2008 and January 2009, the RCO and UNRWA signed in April 2009 an agreement worth US $5.385 million providing for reconstruction of a health centre in Khan Younis refugee camp, a library at Al Fakhoura School in Jabalia camp, and a new school in Jabalia camp, in accordance with the relevant local Palestinian procedures.
Implementation of the projects has been delayed by the Israeli blockade of Gaza, preventing the entry of building materials. Approval has recently been received for the first two projects to go ahead and approval for the new school is expected shortly.
The RCO delegation and UNRWA discussed execution of the current projects, which are expected to be completed within one year, and the scope for further collaboration on new projects.
Peter Ford warmly thanked His Majesty Sheikh Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa and the RCO for all the help which Bahrain is providing to Palestinian refugees.
UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA programme budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s programme budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, 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 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.
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