12 December 2012
The Government of Japan is to give USD 7.7 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for food distributions to Palestine refugees across the Middle East. The announcement was made at a ceremony at the UNRWA Training Centre in Wadi Al-Seer, Amman attended by Japanese Ambassador Junichi Kosuge and UNRWA Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi.
Speaking at event, Ambassador Kosuge said, “Living conditions of Palestine refugees remain difficult, due to the economic blockade, restriction of movement, and stagnant peace process. To address their situation and mitigate the hardship of the refugees, Japan has decided to grant this food aid as humanitarian assistance. Japan sincerely hopes that this food aid will contribute to alleviating the hardship of Palestine refugees.”
Mr. Grandi thanked the government and people of Japan. He said that food aid continued to be a very important component of poverty alleviation among vulnerable refugees. He also stressed that a political solution for the plight of Palestine refugees must be actively sought. “A just and durable solution for the question of Palestine refugees is urgent, in accordance with UN resolution and respecting refugees' choices,” said Grandi. “Only at that point will humanitarian and human development assistance become unnecessary."
The grant will be used for the purchase of wheat flour, pulses and sunflower oil. UNRWA distributes food aid in the occupied Palestinian territory, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.
Including this latest donation, Japan has given over USD 20 million to UNRWA this year, USD 5 million more than it gave in 2011, making Japan UNRWA’s tenth largest donor.
Despite this and many other donations, UNRWA's 2013 General Fund budget has a cash shortfall of approximately USD 69 million.
UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency assistance.
Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund, supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit.
For more information, please contact:
Mobile: +972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0267
UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0724