UAE funding helps Palestine refugees in Syria celebrate Ramadan

10 July 2015
Beneficiaries receive UNRWA food parcels, made possible with generous support from the UAE. Sahnaya, Damascus. © 2015 UNRWA Photo by Taghrid Mohammad

Generous support from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is making a meaningful difference to Palestine refugees in Syria as they celebrate the holy month of Ramadan this year.

In 2014, the UAE donated US$ 15 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) food assistance programme in Syria. While this contribution from the UAE provided urgently needed support for Palestine refugees, the UNRWA General Fund deficit still stands at US$ 101 million.

Funding from the UAE contributed to the final round of food assistance in 2014 and several rounds of food assistance in 2015. The UAE support helped UNRWA distribute 146,282 family food parcels in Syria.

“Food assistance makes a critical difference in the lives of Palestine refugees whose resources have been devastated by four years of brutal conflict,” said Michael Kingsley-Nyinah, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Syria. “UNRWA is grateful to the UAE for their reliable and continuous support. This has particular meaning during Ramadan, as families gather together to break their fast and which is based on the concept of giving.”

Items in the UNRWA food parcel, including rice, lentils, canned meat and halawa, can help provide beneficiaries with the basis for a nourishing iftar meal. Each parcel provides recipients with 700 kcal per person per day over a period of a month. Combined with cash assistance, UNRWA seeks to ensure that family members meet their minimum daily nutritional needs.

UNRWA is grateful for the ongoing support from the UAE and their generous contributions. In 2014, the UAE was the third largest donor to the Syria Emergency Appeal and contributed to over 53 per cent of all food assistance funding received for 2014.

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. 

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: 
+972 (0)2 589 0267
Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: 
+972 (0)258 90724
UNRWA launched the #DignityIsPriceless campaign in Gaza on 22 January 2018. © 2018 UNRWA Photo Rushdi Al Saraj
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