13 February 2012
The Islamic Development Bank (IDB), in its capacity as Coordinator for the Programme of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for the Reconstruction of Gaza, has signed four agreements with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), in total worth more than USD 15.3 million. The funds will support health, sanitation, infrastructure, and emergency shelter reconstruction in the Gaza Strip. IDB representative Mr. Ahmad Sammour signed the agreements on 9 February in Amman, with Mr. Peter Ford from UNRWA.
Through the IDB, the GCC has contributed close to USD 57 million to date for UNRWA reconstruction projects in the Gaza Strip, in addition to educational and vocational training in the Jerusalem area.
This latest contribution includes: a shelter project (USD 4.28 million) to repair 100 refugee houses damaged as a result of Israeli incursions; the reconstruction of Rafah Health Centre (USD 3.21 million) to provide critical health services for more than 109,000 refugees in the Rafah area of Gaza; as well as additional support for infrastructure and sanitation needs.
Much of the infrastructure of the Gaza Strip was severely damaged or destroyed by the Israeli attack just over three years ago. With thousands of refugees left homeless, many of them are still waiting to rebuild their houses. A lack of funds has also left many public facilities in a state of disrepair to this day.
Welcoming the agreements, Mr. Filippo Grandi, UNRWA Commissioner-General said: “The GCC through the IDB has been a valuable supporter of the Agency’s reconstruction and repair efforts in Gaza and have proved themselves to be among the most committed supporters of the Palestine refugees. Thanks to these agreements we will improve the living conditions of refugees across the Gaza Strip. A hundred families will no longer have to endure sub-standard accommodation, sick refugees will no longer have to take endure cramped and shabby health facilities, and many will meanwhile benefit from a more salubrious environment and better infrastructure. They and UNRWA are very grateful to the GCC and the IDB.”
The Islamic Development Bank is an international financial institution that works to foster economic development and social progress in its 56 member countries and Muslim communities in accordance with the principles of Islamic law, and acts as the administrator of the USD 1.6 billion in funds generously pledged by the states of the GCC in 2009 for the reconstruction of Gaza.
UNRWA provides assistance, protection and advocacy for nearly five million registered Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and the occupied Palestinian territory, pending a solution to their plight. The Agency’s services encompass education, primary health care, poverty alleviation for the poorest of the poor, camp infrastructure and improvement, community support, microfinance, and emergency and humanitarian response, including in times of armed conflict.