Belgium Supports UNRWA Efforts in Syria

24 January 2014

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is grateful to the Kingdom of Belgium for responding to the emergency needs of Palestine refugees affected by the conflict Syria with a generous contribution of EUR 1.35 million (US$ 1.83 million). 

The conflict in Syria has had a devastating impact on the lives of more than 500,000 Palestine refugees in that country. More than 50 per cent have been displaced, either within Syria or outside its borders, and almost the entire population is estimated to be in need of emergency assistance. 

In December 2013, UNRWA issued its Syria Regional Crisis Response Plan for 2014, outlining its plans to strengthen Palestine refugees and help them weather the dangers of the conflict. The plan calls for a total of US$ 417.4 million to ensure vital emergency services in health care, education, relief and other programs. 

The Kingdom of Belgium, a member of the UNRWA Advisory Commission since 1953, is a major UNRWA partner, and has supported the Agency with over US$ 72 million since 2007 alone. Announcing the latest contribution as reports continue to document the suffering of Yarmouk, in Damascus, where 18,000 Palestine refugees have been trapped for months without assistance, the Government and people of Belgium have reiterated their commitment to supporting the most vulnerable people in their moment of need.

Background Information: 

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.

For more information, please contact:

Sami Mshasha
Director of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
+972 (0)54 216 8295
+972 (0)258 90724