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President Obama Announces New Funds to UNRWA for Gaza and the West Bank
10 June 2010
President Barack Obama has unveiled a 400 million US dollar package of new funds for Gaza and the West Bank, which includes 50 million US dollars for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. 40 million USD will go towards UNRWA’s Emergency Appeal in the West Bank and Gaza to provide food assistance, job creation as well as emergency education and health programs. An additional 10 million USD has been pledged to build five new UNRWA schools in the Gaza Strip.
"We think it is important to reaffirm our commitment to improving the day-to-day lives of ordinary Palestinians," President Obama said following talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Washington. "This is a positive signal that the United States cares about the suffering of the people in Gaza". UNRWA Commissioner General, Filippo Grandi thanked the President and People of the United States. “This is an important affirmation of the support to Palestine refugees and to UNRWA from the United States at the highest level. We are particularly grateful for the funds for the building of schools in Gaza, where the blockade has prevented us from building new schools for years”.
The latest funds bring US contributions to UNRWA this year to about 165 million US dollars. For more information about UNRWA, its work and history visit www.unrwa.org
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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