Islamic Relief USA brings joy to Palestine refugees this Eid al-Adha

09 August 2019

Thousands of Palestine refugee families living in the Gaza Strip will get to celebrate the Eid al-Adha festivities with traditional foods that may normally be inaccessible, thanks to a generous donation from Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA).

The donation of US$ 400,000 will enable 5,200 refugee families to receive a welcome supply of 6 kilograms of meat per family, in accordance with traditional Eid festivities. All of the refugees selected for the intervention are among the 695,000 Palestine refugees in Gaza who were registered as living in abject poverty during the second quarter of 2019, surviving on less than US$ 1.74 per person per day.

With unemployment in the Gaza Strip registered at nearly 52 per cent, the provision of food assistance remains a priority for the Agency.  Less than 80,000 Palestine refugees relied on UNRWA social assistance in 2000 in Gaza. Today that number has skyrocketed to more than 1 million people.

“This is a near ten-fold increase caused by the blockade that lead to the closure of Gaza and its disastrous impact on the local economy, the successive conflicts that razed entire neighborhoods and public infrastructure to the ground, and the ongoing internal Palestinian political crisis that started in 2007 with the arrival of Hamas to power in Gaza,” said Matthias Schmale, Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza.

Quarterly food distributions help provide nearly 80 per cent of the caloric needs of refugees living in abject poverty and 43 per cent of the caloric needs of those living in absolute poverty which translates to US$ 3.87 or less per person per day.

IRUSA was launched in 1993 and today spans the United States, Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America. Its programmes, aimed at alleviating world poverty, range from children and orphans to women’s initiatives, food aid, livelihood, education and health.

For 70 years, UNRWA has delivered effective and reliable humanitarian support to Palestine refugees. The Agency’s services include free health care and education, food and cash assistance and microcredit loans to 5.5 million Palestine refugees facing extreme hardship in Jordan, the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem

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 5.4 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.

For more information, please contact:

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