Castilla la Mancha contributes to improved environmental health in the West Bank

31 October 2014

The Regional Government of Castilla la Mancha, Spain, has contributed EUR 250,000 (US$ 320,000) to an UNRWA project designed to improve environmental health conditions in 13 Palestine refugee camps in the West Bank.

The health status of Palestine refugees is challenged by poor environmental conditions. Access to quality water and sanitation is increasingly problematic in the West Bank, where the total water supply is half the quantity recommended by the World Health Organization.

The deterioration of water and sanitation infrastructure, with leaks and clogged pipes, increases the risk of diseases such as hepatitis A, meningitis, skin and eye infections and diarrhea.

The project will improve water and sanitation services through new sewerage pipes, storm water pipes and manhole covers. It will also support a solid waste disposal system that transports garbage to safe disposal dumps.

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 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 and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.