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Norwegian delegation visits Baqa’a Refugee Camp expressing support to Palestine refugees and UNRWA
A delegation from the Norwegian Embassy in Jordan headed by Deputy Head of Mission, Ms. Rita Sandberg visited a United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) health centre and school in Baqa’a refugee camp, Jordan. The visit followed Norway’s recent announcement of NOK 19 million in funding to the Agency’s operations in Jordan as part of NOK 57 million contribution to the UNRWA Syrian Regional Crisis Emergency Appeal. This funding is in addition to the contribution of NOK 10 million for the occupied Palestinian territory Emergency Appeal and NOK 125 million to core programme of UNRWA announced in December 2020 and in March 2021, respectively.
The delegation received an on-site briefing about the situation of Palestine refugees in Jordan, including those who fled Syria. Further, the visit highlighted the Agency’s adaptation of operations to respond to the COVID-19 crisis and protection of its frontline workers. The delegation was accompanied by the Director of UNRWA Affairs in Jordan, Ms. Marta Lorenzo, as well as UNRWA staff.
During a visit to the UNRWA Baqa’a Co-educational School, the delegation was briefed on challenges of the remote learning modality due to school closures due to COVID-19 and received updates on the Agency’s Digital Learning Platform. Launched in April, the platform provides students with access to age-appropriate, relevant and safe self-learning materials that are in line with UN values and humanitarian principles.
At the Baqa’a Health Centre, the delegation received progress of the government-led COVID-19 vaccination campaign at the Health Centre, one of the COVID-19 vaccination hubs designated by Jordan's Ministry of Health as part of the country's policy on providing equitable vaccines to all. So far, the Health Centre administered nearly 6,000 vaccines for residents of Jordan and provides nearly 100,000 people with health care.
The visit was concluded by visiting one of Palestine refugee families residing in Baqa’a camp, where the delegation listened to their living situation and negative impact brought by the COVID-19 pandemic on their socioeconomic situation and how they were supported by UNRWA.
Norway remains a strong supporter of the Agency’s work for Palestinian refugees in Jordan and the region. During our visit to the Baqa’a camp this week, we could see the impressive commitment from the UNRWA staff. I would especially like to applaud the many teachers and youth and health care workers for their efforts to provide education, vocational training and health services during the pandemic. To create hope, possibilities and future prospects for Palestinian children and refugees in Jordan remains a priority to us. To achieve this we need to ensure UNRWA can meet its financial needs,” said ambassador Ms. Tone Allers.
“We are very grateful for the generous support provided by Norway to our emergency appeal in Jordan. The contribution will enable the Agency to continue providing uninterrupted services to Palestine refugees impacted by COVID-19. This includes life-saving cash assistance to Palestine refugees from Syria who are facing high vulnerability and for whom UNRWA is their only resort,” said Ms. Lorenzo, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Jordan.
The Government of Norway has been a steadfast partner to UNRWA since 1950, providing critical financial and political support. Over the last three years, Norway has made contributions in the amount of over US$ 90 million in support of the Agency’s core budget, Emergency Appeals and Projects.
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.
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