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14 May 2002
Japan supports Palestinian development in Gaza

Tuesday, 14 May 2002: Three new facilities opened yesterday in Gaza City to support development benefitting Palestinians during a time of severe crisis. The Government of Japan funded them.

Takeshi Okubo, Head of the Representative Office of Japan, and Timothy Rothermel, UNDP Special Representative, inaugurated a school, a municipal building and a waste water pumping station. Japan underwrote a US$5.8 million assistance programme for the Gaza Strip, administered by the UNDP Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People, that financed construction of the facilities as part of its wider efforts in the area.

"We see education and the provision of basic public services as building blocks for peace for the Palestinian people," said Mr. Okubo.

"These facilities will contribute to improved living conditions for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip," said Mr. Rothermel. "This is particularly important at a time when the lack of human, political and economic security is robbing young people in this area of any hope for the future."

The Rosary Sisters School in Gaza City will provide education for children between three and 12 years old. The first of two buildings inaugurated yesterday includes a nursery, kindergarten, pre-school classrooms and accommodations for teachers. The second building houses primary school classrooms, administration offices, a computer lab, library, game room and cafeteria.

The planned second wing of the school, when completed, will accommodate a preparatory and secondary school for students up to 18 years old. The school will provide facilities for more than 1,500 students.

The two-storey Beit Lahia municipal building provides offices, meeting rooms, and an assembly hall for municipal staff. As part of a programme for staff in 10 municipalities in the West Bank and Gaza, training will help public officials working in the new building improve their job skills and efficiency.

The wastewater pumping station will serve 35,000 inhabitants of Beit Lahia, and improve the public health conditions in the municipality. This project has also provided the municipality with office and construction equipment and vehicles.

For further information, please contact Willi Scholl, UNDP Programme of Assistance for the Palestinian People, or Trygve Olfarnes, UNDP Communications Office

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