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The United Arab Emirates Red Crescent donates US$ 6 million for Palestine refugees in Lebanon
16 March 2009
Abu Dhabi: Dr. Ali Abdullah Al-Kabi, Chairman of the Board of the United Arab Emirates Red Crescent (UAERC) and Mr. Peter Ford, Representative of UNRWA‘s Commissioner-General, signed today two agreements for the rehabilitation of shelters and relief activities in Palestinian camps in Lebanon.
UAERC has pledged US$ 5 million to rehabilitate shelters in Bourj El Shemali camp in South Lebanon. The project will improve the physical condition of 343 shelters identified as the most structurally unsound, hazardous and unhygienic among the many dilapidated shelters in Burj el-Shemali camp. The project comes under the Camp Improvement Initiative, an initiative launched by the Lebanese Government and UNRWA in 2006, to improve the living conditions of Palestine refugees in Lebanon’s 12 refugee camps.
The UAERC is also contributing US$ 1 million towards UNRWA’s relief activities for refugees affected by the Nahr El Bared conflict. The funds will allow UNRWA to construct 149 temporary housing units for Palestinian families who were displaced from the camp during summer 2007, and who are still hosted by relatives or friends or in unsuitable places.
Welcoming the two agreements, the Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Karen Koning AbuZayd, said: "Quite rightly, much of the world’s focus recently has been on the situation of Palestine refugees in Gaza. However, we must not forget refugees elsewhere in the region who may be living in deplorable conditions. I am delighted that the donation of $6 million by our generous partners, the UAERC, will allow us to improve refugee housing in the Tyre area, and to provide more temporary housing for the displaced refugees of Nahr El Bared."
The UAERC is a long standing supporter of UNRWA and the Palestine refugees. The UAERC has funded major construction projects including Khan Younis in Gaza, Jenin in the West Bank, and more recently Neirab in Aleppo, Syria.
Some 4.6 million Palestine refugees in UNRWA’s five fields of operations – Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem – are eligible for Agency services, including education, healthcare, social services, shelter, micro-credit loans and emergency aid. UNRWA employs nearly 30,000 staff, the vast majority of whom are Palestine refugees. UNRWA’s operations are financed almost entirely by voluntary contributions from donors. The Agency’s regular budget for 2008-2009 is $1.1 billion, which covers the recurrent costs of the Agency’s education, health and relief and social services activities.
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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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