Japan Contributes US$ 1.5 Million in Food Assistance for Palestine refugees in the Gaza Strip

31 August 2022
(From left) Deputy Representative of Japan to Palestine, Mr. Takashi Hattori, and UNRWA Director of External Relations and Communications, Ms. Tamara Alrifai sign a contribution agreement of JYP 200,000,000 (approximately US$ 1.5 million) to UNRWA. © 2022 UNRWA Photo by Lucrezia Vittori

The Government of Japan today signed a contribution agreement worth JYP 200,000,000 (approximately US$ 1.5 million) with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

This important contribution will allow UNRWA to continue offering essential in-kind food assistance to over one million Palestine refugees in the Gaza Strip, rendered dependent on food aid by repeated cycles of conflict, the continuing blockade and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am very happy to share with you that the Government of Japan has decided to contribute JPY 200 million to UNRWA at this critical time. This contribution represents our determined commitment and continued solidarity with Palestine refugees,” Mr Takashi Hattori, Deputy Representative of Japan to Palestine, said.

Welcoming Japan’s donation,  UNRWA Director of External Relations and Communications, Ms. Tamara Alrifai, said: “This generous contribution from the Government of Japan is a proof that solidarity with Palestine refugees comes from near and far. UNRWA thanks  Japan for  its continued support , which allows for the provision of essential humanitarian support at a time of  acute need.”

The Japanese donation will allow UNRWA to cover the cost of quarterly in-kind food assistance for 53,940 of the most vulnerable Palestine refugees. Over 68 per cent of households in the Gaza Strip are severely or moderately food-insecure. Some 72 per cent of female adolescents in Gaza  suffer from vitamin D deficiency, and 64 per cent suffer from vitamin A deficiency. Any disruption in the delivery of in-kind food assistance would risk further exacerbating these conditions.

The Government of Japan has been a dedicated donor to UNRWA since 1953. In 2021, the Government of Japan was the 5th largest contributor to the Agency. The current contribution is this year’s  third from Japan to the  in-kind food programme in Gaza in 2022, following a US$ 5 million donation in support of food-dependent Palestine refugees in June. It is thanks to the enduring support of donors like the Government of Japan that the Agency is able to provide vital services to Palestine refugees across the Middle East in the face of  continuous challenges. 

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:

Tamara Alrifai
UNRWA Spokesperson
+962 (0)79 090 0140