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UN Secretary-General’s Humanitarian Envoy visits UNRWA Installations in Jordan
Today, the Humanitarian Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General, Dr. Ahmed Al Meraikhi visited United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) installations in Amman New Camp, Jordan.
The visit aimed to provide a firsthand look at the needs and living conditions of Palestine refugees in Jordan. Dr. Al Meraikhi visited the Amman New Camp Health Centre, where he was briefed about the services provided by the Agency to the approximately sixty thousand residents of the camp. He then toured the UNRWA Amman New Camp Preparatory Girls’ School, where he met with students and school parliamentarians. He conveyed to them messages about the importance of education as an opportunity for growth. He also visited Palestine refugee families in the camp and was briefed by UNRWA representatives about the daily lives of Palestine refugees in Jordan and discussed their social and economic situation. The visit also sought to ensure the humanitarian needs of Palestine refugees are communicated. Dr. Al Meraikhi was joined by famed Qatari composer and songwriter Dana Al Fardan. Her participation comes as part of an upcoming UNRWA and Qatar Red Crescent Society joint campaign called ‘Hope for Gaza’. Inspired by Palestine refugees, Ms. Al Fardan composed a song entitled “Bloom” for the UNRWA Ramadan campaign.”
Dr. Al Meraikhi underscored United Nations and global support to Palestine refugees and emphasized the importance of stability in Jordan and the greater Middle East. “We see the challenges that UNRWA has faced and have also observed the increased demand for services for the increased refugees in all fields. I encourage all Member States to rise to the challenge again this year as they have done in years past and continue to support the Agency and Palestine refugees,” he stated.
Mohammed Adar, Director of UNRWA Operations in Jordan said: “As a son of the region and an envoy of the UN Secretary-General, Dr. Al Meraikhi’s visit serves to highlight the importance of the Agency’s work and impact on the well-being of Palestine refugees and to bring the messages from the refugee community itself to the donors and general public.”
In Jordan, UNRWA provides basic education to over 121,000 students at 169 UNRWA schools. Students in fourth, eighth and tenth grades take national quality-control examinations in core subjects – Arabic, English, science and maths – and consistently achieve high results when compared to students from private or government schools.
Amman New Camp, known locally as Wihdat, was one of four camps set up after 1948 to accommodate Palestine refugees who fled as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. The camp was established in 1955 on an area of 0.48 square kilometres, just southeast of Amman. The refugees were initially housed in 1,400 shelters constructed by UNRWA, and in 1957 the Agency built an additional 1,260 shelters. In the absence of a just solution to their plight, Palestine refugees have built on these initial shelters to improve their living conditions. The camp has grown into an urban-like quarter, reflecting the needs of its inhabitants.
UNRWA installations in the camp provide services for the refugees residing in the camp and for those living in its surroundings. In addition to thirteen schools and one health centre, the camp houses one community-based rehabilitation centre, one women’s programme centre, one environmental health office and one camp services office.
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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