Food aid from Turkey arrives in Gaza
2 August 2012
The first shipment of Turkish wheat flour arrived in Gaza today, to feed more than 129,000 families supporting 687,000 dependents. The full in-kind donation of 12,500 metric tonnes of wheat flour worth USD 6.6 million, contributed by the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency of the Prime Ministry of the Republic of Turkey (AFAD), will arrive over the next eight weeks.
“The Palestine refugees we serve are grateful for this generous donation”, said Filippo Grandi, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). The UN agency will accept the shipment and arrange distribution to the most vulnerable refugees living in Gaza. “The need for this aid is clear with food insecurity currently threatening 60 per cent of Gazans”, Grandi added.
Since the tightening of the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip five years ago, unemployment has skyrocketed in the territory, as imports, exports, and job opportunities have slowed or come to a complete halt. Today, 34 per cent of Gazans are unemployed and 70 per cent of refugees are reliant on UNRWA aid.
“Turkey’s support for UNRWA is a reflection of our support for Palestine refugees, especially those living in the impoverished Gaza Strip”, said Ambassador Şakir Özkan Torunlar, Consul General of the Republic of Turkey in Jerusalem. “We are committed to aiding the international effort to help them achieve a decent standard of living despite the difficult circumstances under which they live.”
In addition to in-kind contributions of food, Turkey is a significant financial supporter of UNRWA. Since 2009, the Turkish Government has more than doubled its contribution to the Agency, reaching an annual sum of USD 1.25 million in 2012. In addition to chairing the Working Group on the Financing of the UNRWA in New York, Turkey is also a member of the Advisory Commission comprising UNRWA’s major governmental supporters.
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UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight.
UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency assistance. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions.
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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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