French.pdf Also released as HQ/G/20/2004.
Press Release
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York

24 June 2004

UNRWA Reaches Agreement with Palestinian Authority, United Arab Emirates
Red Crescent Society on Rebuilding 400 Homes in Rafah, gaza
(Reissued as received.)

GAZA, 24 June (UNRWA) -- The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has today reached agreement with the Palestinian Authority (PA) for land to be provided to the Agency to build 400 new shelters for the homeless in Rafah in the Gaza Strip.

Peter Hansen, UNRWA’s Commissioner-General, met with President Arafat in Ramallah to conclude the agreement. Under its terms, the Palestinian Authority will provide two tracts of land in the crowded strip for UNRWA to begin its rehousing project.

The UNRWA-PA agreement follows a multimillion dollar agreement made in the United Arab Emirates on Monday between Mr. Hansen and H.E. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, deputy prime minister and minister of state for foreign affairs of the United Arab Emirates. The Sheikh pledged the financial support of the United Arab Emirates Red Crescent Society, of which he is President, to build 400 replacement homes in Rafah. The size of the United Arab Emirates Red Crescent donation is still to be finalised.

The United Arab Emirates’ generous pledge will go towards UNRWA’s $15.8 million crisis appeal for Rafah. That appeal was launched last month following Israeli’s major military operations in the south of the Gaza Strip in May.
Mr. Hansen informed President Arafat that $6.3 million had already been pledged for Rafah and that further pledges are imminent.

Over 15,000 people have lost their homes in Rafah since the start of the intifada and UNRWA has been providing them with tents, food, water and cash assistance to rent temporary accommodation. The Agency has also built hundreds of new shelters to rehouse those who have lost their homes, but the pace of destruction in 2004 has meant that demand has outstripped the Agency’s ability to meet all of Rafah’s needs.

Mr Hansen also thanked the President for his direct intervention to calm the situation in Jenin camp where UNRWA was forced to suspend work on its major rehousing project following a shooting incident in the project’s offices. UNRWA now plans to restart its Jenin project on Sunday, June 27 2004.

The Jenin Rehabilitation Project was financed by a $27 million donation to UNRWA by the United Arab Emirates Red Crescent Society in 2002. The project is due to be completed in October.

For more information, please call Paul McCann, tel.: +972 8 677 7526; or Sami Mshasha, tel.: +972 2 598 0408.
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