Japan donates 600 million yen (US $7.7 million) for food aid to Palestine refugees

17 August 2011

17 August 2011

Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi with Japanese Ambassador to Jordan H.E. Junichi KosugeThe government of Japan has announced a donation of US$ 7.7 million (600 million Japanese yen) towards food aid as part of UNRWA’s social safety-net programme for 2011 and 2012. The programme, aimed at alleviating poverty among Palestine refugees, provides food aid and cash subsidies to more than a quarter of a million impoverished people in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. The Japanese contribution will help UNRWA provide vulnerable refugees with food including wheat flour and pulses. Families benefiting from the social safety-net receive food packages every three months, including sugar, rice, oil and milk powder.

UNRWA Commissioner-General, Filippo Grandi, welcomed the Japanese contribution, saying: “I would like to thank the government and people of Japan for this contribution especially this year when Japan was hit with the earthquake and tsunami.” He continued: “Food aid is one of two components of a programme targeting the neediest refugees.”

The agreement was signed today at the UNRWA Baqa’a Elementary Co-Ed School in Baqa’a camp, Jordan, by Mr Grandi and the Japanese Ambassador to Jordan H.E. Junichi Kosuge.

Speaking at the ceremony, HE Mr. Kosuge said: “Japan has been and will continue to be proactively involved in assistance to the Palestinian people and making efforts towards peace in the region.” He continued: “Japan considers UNRWA as an important partner to realise our diplomatic principle of human security and to promote peace in the region.”

Japan’s assistance to the Palestine refugees through UNRWA, which began in 1953, has amounted to approximately US$ 600 million, including this year’s food aid contribution. Japan has been providing food aid to UNRWA since 1967, and is among a number of donors that today regularly contribute to UNRWA’s social safety-net programme.

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For more information please contact:

Anwar Abu Sakieneh
Acting Public Information Officer
Mobile: 0795671888

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.

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