France supports UNRWA food assistance in Gaza with EUR 500,000

27 July 2020

France contributed EUR 500,000 today to enable the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to continue addressing basic humanitarian needs of Palestine refugees through food assistance. UNRWA provides a critical humanitarian lifeline to almost 1.4 million Palestine refugees in Gaza who have been rendered food insecure as a result of a long-standing air, land and sea blockade and repeated cycles of conflict in the coastal enclave. This French contribution assists in co-funding food commodities food baskets to around 27,250 abject[1] and absolute[2] poor Palestine refugees in the fourth quarter of 2020, at a crucial time of unprecedented needs.

Humanitarian conditions in Gaza continue to deteriorate as the Israeli air land and sea blockade entered its fourteen year this summer.  The blockade directly affects exit and entry of both goods and people, thus, interrupting the delivery of basic services and leading to the collapse of infrastructure, basic social services and industrial sectors. The political instability, protracted hostilities, the energy crisis that leaves residents with less than eight hours of electricity per day, and a soaring unemployment rate all contribute to Gaza’s socio-economic fabric crumbling. These difficulties are currently exacerbated by a pandemic of abject poverty triggered by the global Covid-19 pandemic. UNRWA services, including food assistance, help Palestine refugees strengthen their resilience and lead them to a healthier and more dignified life.

“UNRWA is very grateful for the support of the French government. Palestine refugees in Gaza are living the effects of a blockade that is entering its fourteenth year, depriving them of a meaningful future perspective. Through the invaluable services of UNRWA, including food assistance, Palestine refugees can secure some of their basic needs and maintain some perspective for a better future,” said Matthias Schmale, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Gaza.

France has been a dedicated and reliable supporter and partner to UNRWA for 70 years, reaching a total of EUR 41 million in funding in 2019 and EUR 20 million in 2020.

[1] Palestine refugee whose income below US$ 1.74 per person per day.

[2] Those living between the abject-poverty line of US$ 1.74 per person day and the absolute-poverty line of US$ 3.87 per person per day.

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 5.7 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.

For more information, please contact:

Sami Mshasha
Director of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
+972 (0)54 216 8295
+972 (0)258 90724
Tamara Alrifai
UNRWA Spokesperson
+962 (0)79 090 0140