The Government of Italy has generously donated EUR 500,000 (USD 627,353) to UNRWA for urgent food assistance to Palestine refugees affected by the ongoing conflict in Syria.
The funds were a direct contribution to the implementation of the Syria Humanitarian response Plan in 2012 and helped UNRWA provide 12,217 vulnerable Palestine refugees with cash assistance to meet their most immediate food needs, amidst inflation and growing risk of displacement. Each Palestine refugee received USD 42 (SYP 3000) cash grant in Damascus and Damascus Countryside between October 2012 and February 2013 to purchase essential and basic food stuffs including rice, pasta, sugar, and ready meals. To ensure speedy delivery of assistance the distribution was made through bank transfers and direct disbursement from UNRWA facilities.
Welcoming the donation, Mr. Michael Kingsley-Nyinah, Director of UNRWA Affairs said: “The Government of Italy has been a strong advocate for Palestine refugees through its partnership with UNRWA, and this year it has stepped up to support Palestine refugees in greatest needs in Syria.” With this latest donation to UNRWA, the Italian Government has alleviated the suffering of Palestine refugees, many of whom have lost their livelihoods as a result of the current violence. Kingsley also expressed the Agency’s deep gratitude to the Italian Government for this generous donation. "UNRWA will continue to implement its regular programming support for Palestine refugees and seek to mitigate humanitarian suffering by implementing funds received under the Syrian Humanitarian Response Plans for 2012-2013." Kingsely added.
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 five 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$ 54.3 million.
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