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Omar Kamal lends his voice to help Palestine refugees
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is proud to announce that internationally-recognized singer, composer and producer Omar Kamal will be lending his voice to support Palestine refugees across the Middle East.
Through the partnership, Kamal, who originally hails from Nablus in the occupied Palestinian territory, will serve as an UNRWA Advocate. The pianist and vocalist will share stories of Palestine refugees and launch his own crowdfunding campaign to support the Agency’s programmes for 5.7 million registered refugees in Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank (including East Jerusalem).
“This is for Palestinian refugees in the camps and for Palestinians all over the world. I'm very honoured to be able to contribute in every way possible to their livelihood and best interest, especially given their worsened conditions due to COVID-19,” said Kamal.
Like many vulnerable communities worldwide, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed countless more Palestine refugees into extreme insecurity. A recent study by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics found on average 42 per cent of Palestinian households (46 per cent in the West Bank and 38 per cent in the Gaza Strip) reported their income declined to half or more during the lockdown period from 5-25 March 2020. Additionally, 63 per cent of Palestinian households report they will have to resort to credit or borrowing funds in order to cover normal household items, including food.
Earlier this month, the Agency announced that its ongoing and historic funding shortfall could jeopardize its ability to provide critical relief and development services in all five fields of operation, including free health care to millions of refugees, free education to more than half a million students and quarterly food assistance to more than 1.1 million refugees. UNRWA is deeply grateful to Kamal and other partners for their efforts to raise awareness about the plight of Palestine refugees facing increased hardship due to the global economic downturn prompted by the coronavirus outbreak.
Kamal catapulted to success following the release of his first album, Serenade, in 2017. In 2019, the performer released his follow-up album Show Me the Light featuring international orchestrators, lyricists and session players. His international musical tour, which was temporarily halted by the pandemic, resumes this December with performances at the Dubai Opera.
For 70 years, UNRWA has delivered effective and reliable humanitarian support to Palestine refugees. The Agency’s services include free health care and education, food and cash assistance and microcredit loans to 5.7 million Palestine refugees facing extreme hardship in Jordan, the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank.
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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