BELGIUM CONTRIBUTES EUR 1.5 MILLION TO PROVIDE CASH ASSISTANCE TO PALESTINE REFUGEES IN SYRIA
09 December 2015
The Kingdom of Belgium has made a generous contribution of EUR 1.5 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in support of the Agency’s efforts to respond to the emergency needs of Palestine refugees in Syria (PRS) through the provision of cash assistance to conflict-affected households.
The conflict in Syria, now in its fifth year, continues to have a devastating impact on civilians, including Palestine refugees. It is estimated that 450,000 Palestine refugees are still living in Syria, with more than 95 per cent reliant on UNRWA to meet their minimum basic needs. More than 50 per cent have been displaced at least once, either internally or to neighbouring countries and abroad.
A critical element of the Agency’s emergency response in Syria, cash assistance provides Palestine refugees with the flexibility to address their changing and most urgent needs. In a recent evaluation by UNRWA, recipients voted cash assistance as the most useful form of humanitarian support, with most recipients indicating that they spend the majority of their cash assistance (71 per cent) on food and rent.
The Kingdom of Belgium is a major UNRWA partner and has been a member of the UNRWA Advisory Commission since 1953. Since 2007, they have contributed over US$ 89 million to support the Agency’s core programmes and services, as well as its emergency programmes in Syria and Gaza.
UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions, and financial support has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, deepening poverty and conflict. As a result, the UNRWA General Fund, which supports core essential services and most staffing costs, operates with a large deficit. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large deficits, are funded through separate funding portals.
UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.
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