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Mercy USA supports Palestine refugee families in Gaza with emergency food aid
More than 5,000 Palestine refugees in Gaza will receive much-needed food supplies thanks to a generous contribution from Mercy-USA for Aid and Development. The funding will support the emergency food assistance programme administered by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) which provides food parcels to more than one million Palestine refugees on a quarterly basis.
The contribution comes as thousands of Palestine refugees struggle to rebuild their lives following 11 days of intense airstrikes and violence that left 256 Palestinians (including 66 children) dead and more than 1,400 families temporarily displaced. The crisis occurred at a time when refugees in the 365 km² enclave were already struggling with economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with fourteen years of blockade.
“Mercy-USA is grateful to UNRWA, our long-time and trusted partner, for implementing this donation of emergency food aid to vulnerable families in Gaza. It’s our hope this gift from our donors brings comfort to families who were already living in an untenable situation even before this latest crisis,” said Umar Alqadi, Mercy-USA’s CEO.
On 15 May UNRWA launched a US$ 38 million Flash Appeal to support refugees impacted by an intensification of violence that started in April in both the West Bank and Gaza. An updated Recovery Appeal, launched in late June, seeks an additional US$ 164 million in funding for humanitarian assistance, emergency shelter repairs and mental health interventions to those affected in the besieged Strip.
“The impact of this conflict on Palestine refugees and the trauma it leaves them with are staggering,” said UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini. “The ability of UNRWA to contribute to a sense of normality in the lives of Palestine refugees, such as through the continuation of food assistance, is possible thanks to this kind of partnerships.”
Mercy-USA, a long-standing partner to the Agency, seeks to alleviate human suffering by supporting projects focused primarily on health, nutrition and economic and educational empowerment.
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 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank 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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