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EU Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process visits Marka Refugee Camp in Jordan
The European Union Special Representative (EUSR) for the Middle East Peace Process H.E. Mr. Sven Koopmans, visited several installations run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in Marka Palestine refugee camp, Jordan, today.
H.E. Koopmans was accompanied by the Ambassador of the European Union to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan H.E. Ms. Maria Hadjitheodosiou, the EU Political Officer, Mr. Adam Janssen, Director General of the Department of Palestinian Affairs H.E. Eng. Rafiq Khirfan and the Director of UNRWA Affairs in Jordan Ms. Marta Lorenzo.
Starting at the UNRWA Marka Preparatory Girls’ School, the delegation was briefed about Palestine refugees in Jordan, specifically on the vulnerabilities faced by Ex-Gazans and Palestine refugees from Syria, as well as recent developments on UNRWA operations across the region. Additionally, discussions centered around how UNRWA has contributed to regional stability and the human development of the Palestine refugees over the past seven decades.
The delegation visited the Marka Camp Heath Centre, where they witnessed the UNRWA response firsthand to the COVID-19 pandemic and were briefed on how the Agency’s Health Programme ensures service continuity and abides by health protective measures through investment in digitization. This includes smart phone applications and telemedicine services to ensure that refugees receive quality health care safely, avoiding gatherings and overcrowding.
The visit also included a tour in the camp, to get a closer look at the daily life of refugees, where they were informed about the environmental health procedures taken by the agency via its Sanitation Laborers to improve the hygienic situation in the camp and sustain the health and safety of refugees amid the pandemic.
H. E. Sven Koopmans stressed that “as the biggest donor to UNRWA, the European Union reaffirms its commitment to supporting the Palestinian refugees in Jordan and the region, and we greatly appreciate the very important work carried out by UNRWA to provide enormous numbers of refugees with the means to sustain their life and dignity, among other things through vital education and health services.”
Director of UNRWA Affairs in Jordan, Ms. Marta Lorenzo expressed her gratitude to the visit by saying: “I am honored to meet the EU Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process, Mr. Sven Koopmans at Marka camp today The European Union has demonstrated its solidarity and support with Palestine refugees through a long-standing partnership with UNRWA over the past fifty years.”
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 5.7 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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