UNITED STATES CONTINUES CRITICAL SUPPORT FOR PALESTINE REFUGEES
RECOVERING FROM RECENT CONFLICT IN GAZA
12 October 2014
As evidenced by the Gaza reconstruction conference today in Cairo, Egypt, there is no question that the international community appreciates the significant need of the people of Gaza recovering from the recent conflict. Recognizing this, United States Secretary of State John Kerry announced on September 22 a generous additional contribution of $59 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in support of the Agency’s emergency operations in Gaza.
These funds will be used to respond to the most urgent shelter, food and health needs of families who have been severely impacted by the most recent conflict in Gaza.
In thanking the United States for its sustained support, UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl said, “We are deeply grateful for the continued support of the United States Government and the American people. These emergency funds will help hundreds of thousands of Palestine refugees in Gaza meet their critical needs, including food for their families, shelter for those who have been displaced and psychosocial support for the hundreds of thousands of children who need assistance after witnessing conflict.”
This latest contribution comes amid efforts by Palestinians in Gaza to return to their daily lives following the recent violence. Even prior to the conflict, the economy in Gaza was in unable to sustain the people of Gaza, with the majority of the population dependent on humanitarian aid to meet basic needs. The number of Palestine refugees relying on UNRWA for food aid increased from fewer than 80,000 in 2000 to over 830,000 prior to the 2014 conflict.
This generous contribution brings the total US contribution to the 2014 Gaza Emergency Flash Appeal to $74 million, and will, among other things, assist with:
UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.
Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 56 million.
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