The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in its capacity as Coordinator for the Programme of the Gulf Cooperation Council for the Reconstruction of Gaza and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has signed two agreements worth US$ 9.2 million supporting education and emergency shelter reconstruction in the Gaza Strip. IDB representative Mr Mansour Bin Feten, Director of the Bank’s Trust Funds Department, signed the agreements in Amman, Jordan with Mr Peter Ford, Representative of the UNRWA Commissioner-General.
The shelter project will repair 120 refugee houses in Gaza damaged as a result of Israeli incursions. The crisis in Gaza between December 2008 and January 2009 left thousands of refugees homeless, while others were forced to live in insecure and unsafe accommodation. Almost three years on, many refugees are still waiting to reconstruct their damaged homes. Through the new project 120 families will see their quality of life greatly improved as they will soon be able to enjoy safe and dignified housing.
The GCC through the IDB has been a valuable supporter of the Agency’s housing reconstruction and repair efforts. This latest agreement follows earlier agreements worth around US$ 21 million. In July 2010 an agreement in the amount of US$ 6.5 million was signed for the repair of 852 houses, in January 2011 a second agreement for US$ 6.1 million was signed for the repair of a further 373 shelters, while a third agreement worth US$ 8.3 million was signed this July.
During the same visit, the IDB and UNRWA also agreed to build and equip one new school in Gaza and equip a further three schools previously funded by the IDB. The new school will allow some 2,000 to 2,500 children to move from currently overcrowded, run-down premises into a brand new fully-equipped school building.
Welcoming the agreements, Mr Filippo Grandi, the Commissioner-General of UNRWA, said: “The two agreements signed in Amman represent the deepening of an exemplary partnership that has opened between UNRWA and the GCC Gaza Reconstruction Committee acting through the IDB. Over the course of 2011, the GCC and the IDB are fast proving themselves to be among the Agency’s and the Palestine refugees’ most committed supporters. The agreements will improve the living conditions of both hundreds of Palestinians who have been forced to endure years of sub-standard accommodation as well as the learning environment for thousands of schoolchildren who will benefit from a brand new school. They and UNRWA are very grateful to the GCC and the IDB.”
The Islamic Development Bank is an international financial institution which works to foster economic development and social progress in its 56 member countries and Muslim communities in accordance with the principles of Islamic law. The Bank awards equity capital and grant loans for productive projects and enterprises as well as other forms of financial assistance to promote economic and social development. The Bank also establishes and operates special funds for specific purposes, including trusts. The IDB is the administrator of the funds under the Gulf Cooperation Council’s programme to rebuild Gaza.
UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson
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