The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) signed today another Agreement with KfW, the German Development Bank, for a contribution of EUR 5.7 million (US$ 7.8 million) to contribute to the Agency´s support to Palestine refugees that fled from Syria (PRS) to Lebanon.
The funds from Germany, provided via KfW on behalf of the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, will deliver emergency support for a period of 10 months to PRS in Lebanon, allowing them to focus on building their resilience against the negative effects of the conflict. PRS will be provided with cash for housing and food assistance through the recently introduced ATM system, and will also receive health care assistance.
The funding will also help continue the work of a sustained, strengthened emergency coordination team, ensuring that UNRWA can respond effectively to the regional effects of the ongoing conflict. The donation forms part of the Regional Programme for the Improvement of Living Conditions of Palestinian Refugee Camps (REPAC). Since the inception of REPAC in 2011, the German Government has provided via KfW EUR 19.8 million (US$ 27.2 million), in support of Palestine refugees.
The Director of the KfW Office Ramallah/Al Bireh Thomas Eisenbach stated: “Our commitment to Palestine refugees is long standing. With this contribution, we hope to help improve the living conditions of Palestine refugees from Syria who are seeking safety and shelter in Lebanon.”
Esther Kuisch-Laroche, Chief of the UNRWA Donor Relations Division, thanked for the support. “Germany and KfW have made another important contribution today,” she said. “With their support, it is possible for UNRWA to help meet the needs of vulnerable Palestine refugees from Syria.”
As of December 2013, there were some 51,000 PRS in Lebanon, where they depend heavily on the host community and on UNRWA services, including emergency assistance as well as education and health care. The Agency expects their number to rise to 100,000 in Lebanon by the end of 2014.
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$ 36 million.
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