Dubai Begins Humanitarian Airlift for UNRWA in Gaza
As the number of casualties and injured civilians rises in the Gaza Strip, aid agencies have geared up for the emergency response and mobilized relief supplies from the International Humanitarian City (IHC), in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. These supplies have been donated to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for thousands of vulnerable displaced families in Gaza.
Under the direction of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, a special airlift in support of displaced families in Gaza began on Sunday from the Royal Wing in Dubai, where a 747 cargo took off carrying 115 metric tons of aid, containing 45,000 mattresses, 10,000 blankets and 220 hygiene kits. The plane landed at Marka International Airport in Amman early on Monday, 21 July.
"We are very grateful for the immediate reaction and most generous response we received from Dubai and all the IHC members to our call for help", said Pierre Krähenbühl, UNRWA Commissioner-General, who added that "the Dubai airlift is one of the best examples of how effective humanitarians can be when working together."
In less than 24 hours, IHC coordinated participation of member organizations including the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN World Food Programme (WFP)/UN Humanitarian Response Depot), the UN Children's Fund, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and Emirates Red Crescent. The members planned a joint logistics effort to ensure maximum efficiency in delivering aid to 100,000 internally displaced people amid deteriorating security conditions in Gaza.
Relief items included jerrycans, sleeping mats, blankets, tarpaulins, hygiene kits and kitchen sets. They were dispatched from IHC warehouses, which hold supplies, as well as some of the largest global stockpiles, for aid agencies including UNHCR, WFP and IFRC, and then transferred to the royal aircraft in the Dubai Air Wing.
In the coming days, more airlifts are scheduled to arrive in Amman, from where UNRWA will truck the aid into Gaza for distribution. UNRWA plans to expand the scope of the donations to include emergency food parcels as stocks of food and other essential goods dwindle.
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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