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ECHO supports shelter needs of vulnerable Palestinian Iraqi refugees in Syria
29 April 2010
With a generous donation of €1,000,000 the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) has allowed UNRWA to support some 2,300 Palestinian Iraqi refugees in Syria in coping with their prolonged and dire situation by helping cover the costs of housing.
Palestinians living in Iraq fled due to severe persecution, and while Syria provides the safety they did not have in Iraq, they now face enormous economic and social hardship.
UNRWA is providing assistance to Palestinian Iraqis as a temporary measure in as much as its funding allows, but it does not have the means to ensure an adequate living standard for this population. ECHO support helps UNRWA target and protect the most vulnerable of the Palestinian Iraqis, who are unable to return to Iraq or work in Syria.
UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, provides education, healthcare, social services, shelter, and micro-credit opportunities to a population of 470,000 Palestine refugees in Syria.
ECHO is the agency responsible for oversight and coordination of humanitarian aid operations for the European Union, and an important donor to UNRWA.
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UNRWA and ECHO
Since 1992, the European Commission Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) has funded relief to millions of victims of both natural disasters and man-made crises outside the EU. Aid is channeled impartially, straight to victims, regardless of their race, religion and political beliefs. For the past 18 years, ECHO has supported UNRWA through a variety of programmes.
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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