UNRWA inaugurates Sheik Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan City in Khan Younis and the construction of four schools across the Gaza Strip

09 December 2015
Mr Sufian Abu Zayda, Representative of the United Arab Emirates Red Crescent (UAERC) in Gaza, speaking at the opening ceremony of the Sheik Khalifa Bin Zayed al Nahyan City in Khan Younis organised by UNRWA on 6 December 2015. © 2015 UNRWA Photo by Khalil Adwan

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) on 6 December 2016 inaugurated Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan City in Khan Younis, as well as four new schools in Gaza. The housing project was funded through a generous contribution of US$19.7 million from the United Arab Emirates Red Crescent (UAERC). A total of 4,000 Palestine refugee persons will benefit from 600 new housing units prepared to re-house refugee families who were living in poor and inadequate shelters. The project started in 2007 and was halted for almost 5 years due to the Israeli blockade and conflicts in Gaza.

The four schools that were inaugurated at the ceremony represent Phase 1 of a generous contribution of US$ 8 million from the United Arab Emirates Red Crescent (UAERC). The total project foresees the construction of a total of eight schools.

“This project is very significant for Palestine refugees, it is very large and comprehensive, with infrastructure, electricity network, a school and a water well, ” said Melinda Young, Director of UNRWA Operations (Officer-in-Charge) in Gaza.  “It’s also a realization of a fundamental human right: the right to a dignified life for Palestine refugees in Gaza. Again, we acknowledge our generous donor for helping make this happen,” she added.

Speaking on behalf of the UAERC, Mr. Sufian Abu Zayd, the UAERC representative in Gaza, said, “The UAERC has always been and will continue to be a great supporter of the Palestinian people in Gaza.  What really matters for the UAE Red Crescent is to help and support refugee families in Gaza in time of need and during times of emergencies.”

The event was attended by Mr. Mufeed Al Hasayna, Minister of Public Works and Housing, governor and mayor of Khan Younis, in addition to a number of notables and dignitaries, as well as members of the local community . 

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:

Sami Mshasha
Director 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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