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Japan Contributes JPY 600 Million to Support Food Assistance for Palestine Refugees in Gaza
The Japanese Ambassador for Palestinian Affairs and Representative of Japan to Palestine, Mr. Takeshi Okubo, and UNRWA Commissioner-General, Mr. Pierre Krähenbühl, signed an agreement for a JPY 600 million, approximately US$ 5.4 million, contribution from Japan to support the Agency’s Gaza food assistance programme for the seventh consecutive year.
Food insecurity remains a critical issue in Gaza, and many Palestine refugee families face difficulties in meeting their minimum food needs. This generous contribution by Japan will benefit nearly 100,000 Palestine refugees in Gaza during 2018-2019 who will receive basic supplies such as wheat flour, beans and sunflower oil.
Commissioner-General Krähenbühl welcomed the important additional contribution: “We are truly grateful for Japan’s continued partnership and its solidarity towards Palestine refugees. 2018 is seeing very remarkable engagement from Japan, which we highly value. This support will help ensure that UNRWA continues providing critical food assistance to the most vulnerable Palestine refugees in Gaza.”
Takeshi Okubo, Ambassador for Palestinian Affairs and Representative of Japan to Palestine, reiterated the commitment of Japan to supporting UNRWA. He said: “Japan has provided this assistance at a time when UNRWA suffers from financial crisis and Gaza is experiencing a humanitarian crisis. Also, this assistance has come as a part of the commitment Japanese Prime Minister Mr. Abe expressed to supporting UNRWA when he visited Palestine on 1 May of this year. We are determined more than ever to send a message to Palestine refugees through the assistance that “You are not alone; the international community will be there with you”.
Japan continues to be a reliable and consistent supporter of UNRWA; in 2017, Japan contributed US$ 43.3 million and was among the top seven donors. The new donation follows a US$ 10 million contribution in May 2018 which allows the Agency’s emergency operations in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.
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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