GERMAN DEVELOPMENT BANK AND UNRWA SIGN EUR 25M IN AGREEMENTS
TO SUPPORT PALESTINE REFUGEES IN GAZA AND LEBANON
15 December 2014
The German Development Bank (KfW) and UNRWA signed two agreements worth a total of EUR 25 million ($ 31.3 million) to support Palestine refugees in Gaza and Lebanon.
EUR 20 million ($ 25 million) provided by KfW on behalf of the Government of Germany will fund cash assistance for temporary shelter, as well as major repairs and reconstruction of homes in Gaza. This will help families who are still homeless following the summer 2014 hostilities move into transitional shelter until their home repairs have been completed.
An additional EUR 5 million (US$ 6.3 million) will provide vital assistance to the most vulnerable Palestine refugees from Syria in Lebanon through targeted cash assistance for food, shelter and winterization needs. This donation will also fund essential improvements to UNRWA infrastructure and environmental health services. These improvements will help maintain healthy environments in refugee camps and provide emergency collective shelter rehabilitation.
These two new contributions form part of KfW support to the Regional Programme for the Improvement of Living Conditions of Palestinian Refugee Camps (REPAC). The Government of Germany, through KfW, has now contributed US$ 57.9 million to REPAC.
UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl said, “We are grateful for the longstanding cooperation with KfW to support the most vulnerable Palestine refugees through the REPAC programme. With the winter upon us, further commitment to improving the living conditions in Palestine refugee camps in Gaza and Lebanon could not be more timely.”
The Director of the KfW Office in Ramallah/Al-Bireh, Thomas Eisenbach, said, “With this commitment from the German Government, some of the most vulnerable Palestinian refugees will be supported in very difficult times. We trust our partner UNRWA to professionally and quickly implement these programmes, so that the assistance reaches the people in need.”
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, and microfinance.
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 (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 56 million.
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