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Source: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
4 October 2012

executive summary

Faced with the continued protracted crisis in the occupied Palestinian territory, the 2011 Emergency Appeal sought to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of more than one million vulnerable Palestine refugees. UNRWA received USD 153.9 million in pledges and confirmed contributions out of a total request of USD 379 million in 12 key sectors. Overall the Appeal was 41 per cent funded. In order to mitigate the shortfall, specific and most urgently-needed interventions were prioritised.

Temporary job creation

The UNRWA job creation programme (JCP) created over 22 million employment days in the oPt through the 2011 Emergency Appeal. These job days provided income opportunities for 50,745 refugees, as well as helped support their more than 309,000 dependents. Funding reached close to 43 per cent of annual requirements, with an additional USD 16 million in carry-over funds. Carry-over funds mitigated the full impact of the funding shortfalls in 2011.

Cash assistance

Donors have grown increasingly reluctant to support cash assistance programmes. As a result, UNRWA’s 2011 cash assistance programme fell significantly behind its targets and was funded by less than one per cent, and only in the West Bank.

Food assistance

In 2011, UNRWA delivered more than 1 million tons of food assistance to an estimated 732,762 vulnerable people in the West Bank and Gaza, providing an essential service to around 144,501 poor families. A refined poverty-based targeting system identified beneficiaries, ensuring that only the most vulnerable families received food aid. Food assistance parcels were delivered over four rounds during the year and typically contained flour, sugar, rice, pulses, and other necessities. Depending on the beneficiaries and distribution round, parcels aimed to meet between 40 and 76 per cent of recipients’ daily caloric needs.


UNRWA met its annual objective to deliver a basic stationery pack containing books, rubbers, pens, and pencils to all 218,977 students enrolled in 243 UNRWA schools.


Health programmes enabled more than 6 million consultations at clinics across the oPt, as well as the employment of 782 health professionals. Programmes also prioritised the provision of specialised and hospital care. Despite significant challenges, including a month-long strike of UNRWA staff, programmes made important progress against all objectives.

Environmental health

UNRWA environmental health programmes benefited an estimated 1.7 million people across occupied Palestinian territory through the provision of emergency assistance to municipalities and other service providers in order to ensure the continuity of public health services, including water treatment, sewerage and waste removal.

Community mental health

A total of 347 counsellors were recruited and 147,825 refugees received mental-health services across the oPt. These services included a range of counselling interventions, and also raise awareness of community mental-health issues. Most beneficiaries were located in Gaza, and overall results were largely on target with the
annual objectives outlined in the 2011 Emergency Appeal.

Support to community-based

The Summer Games took place from 18 June to 5 August in three cycles, each of which lasted two weeks. Over 200,000 students took part in 300 different UNRWA Summer Games locations. Refugee and non-refugee children (8 to 15 years old) participated in activities such as popular games, arts, swimming, and other sports. The children of Gaza broke four world records: the most people playing parachute, the highest number of basketballs dribbled simultaneously, the largest handprint painting, and the most kites flown simultaneously.


UNRWA documented and raised 118 protection cases affecting Palestine refugees, including demolitions, threats of displacement, settler violence, and communities affected by the Barrier and IHL violations in refugee camps. UNRWA carried out interventions with the relevant duty-bearers and mobilised the international community through briefings in the field and abroad.

Temporary shelters

UNRWA temporary shelter efforts strove to ensure safe housing for refugee families whose homes have been destroyed, damaged or rendered hazardous by the protracted crisis. Concentrated mostly on Gaza, these programmes benefited approximately 39,000 individuals in 3,648 families, offering shelter rehabilitation and repair, as well as targeted assistance such as relocation support and cash grants. As well, up to 3,000 families in Gaza received non-food items as part of its winterisation programme, new arrivals, and those whose shelters were damaged due to military operations.

Operation support officers

UNRWA’s operation support officer (OSO) programme improved the overall delivery of UNRWA services by following humanitarian developments, safeguarding the agency’s neutrality, monitoring access restrictions, and supporting advocacy and other outreach.

Coordination and management

UNRWA worked throughout 2011 to enhance its capacity to manage emergencies and promote security. Field offices in the West Bank and Gaza took different approaches to emergency capacity, management, and security based on the most pressing needs in each area.

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