Germany announces new EUR 37 million donation to support shelter assistance in Gaza

13 May 2015
Parliamentary State Secretary of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Thomas Silberhorn, (centre) and Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza, Robert Turner (left) in Gaza. © 2015 UNRWA Photo by Suzanne Leuenberger

Germany has announced a new EUR 37 million (US$ 41 million) contribution to the UNRWA shelter assistance programme in Gaza. With a total contribution of EUR 80 million (US$ 93 million) to UNRWA programmes in Gaza to date, Germany is the second largest supporter of the UNRWA response to the humanitarian crisis resulting from the 2014 conflict.

Germany’s support immediately following the 2014 conflict in Gaza was crucial to allow UNRWA to initiate its emergency shelter assistance programme and provide much-needed humanitarian relief. UNRWA has only received funding to rebuild 200 of the 9,161 Palestine refugee homes that have been assessed as totally destroyed. All of this funding has come from Germany. This new contribution will allow UNRWA to further develop its shelter assistance response.

The Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza, Robert Turner, said: “The support from Germany for reconstruction and recovery in Gaza has been extraordinary. More than eight months after the summer 2014 conflict ended, the situation in Gaza remains desperate and the people of Gaza urgently need other donors to follow the excellent example set by Germany.” 

The new donation was announced by Parliamentary State Secretary of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Thomas Silberhorn, during a visit to Gaza on 12 May.

Speaking from Gaza, Mr. Silberhorn said: “Germany will continue to support reconstruction efforts in Gaza as an integral part of German-Palestinian development cooperation. Our cooperation with UNRWA in supporting Palestinian refugees in Gaza is crucial to reach the most vulnerable and to contribute to better living conditions.” 

In 2014, Germany was the fifth-largest UNRWA donor in overall terms, with a total contribution of US$ 79 million.

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 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank 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.