DURING RAMADAN, POOR REFUGEE FAMILIES RECEIVE SUHOOR FOOD PARCELS THROUGH UNRWA
During 10 days of the holy month of Ramadan, UNRWA is distributing Suhoor food parcels to almost 2,000 poor refugee families in 12 food distribution centres in all areas of the Gaza Strip. This distribution has been made possible thanks to a generous contribution of US$ 200,000 by Islamic Relief USA.
“I could not buy anything for this Ramadan, I have no money. Therefore, I am happy to receive this package; my family is waiting at home to see what it includes and the kids will be excited to have something for the Suhoor,” commented the 47-year old refugee Kamal Abu Ryalah when he received his food basket in the Beach Camp Distribution Centre in Gaza city.
Suhoor is the last meal Muslims consume in the early morning hours before the start of the daily fasting. Food baskets include items ranging from juice and jam to cheese, tea, chick peas or meat and will provide families with the important calories needed during the fasting hours until Iftar, the evening meal after sunset.
The families receiving this food assistance are abject poor, with an income below US$ 1.5 per capita per day.
“This donation comes as a blessing from Allah in a time where poor families like mine are in dire need of help. This Suhoor package will help us to survive,” said 41-year old Mreed Al Sukari, a father of 10 who was able to collect his Suhoor parcel in the Al Tuffah Distribution Centre, also located in Gaza city.
The Suhoor food parcel distribution is part of the Agency’s effort to mitigate food insecurity in the Gaza Strip. In June 2015, the blockade on Gaza has entered its ninth year and continues to push the population into poverty, making them increasingly vulnerable to food insecurity. 80 per cent of the population in Gaza is dependent on aid; the unemployment rate in 2014 stood at 43.9 per cent, and for refugees at 44.4 per cent -- the highest worldwide according to the World Bank. The economy is at the brink of collapse and rising prices and inflation add to the difficult living conditions. Gaza households spend already more than 50 per cent on food, according to the Socio-Economic and Food Security Survey from 2012 (conducted by UNRWA, the Food Agriculture Organization, the World Food Programme and the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics), leaving them very little for other expenses such as clothes, household goods or school stationary for their children.The number has likely increased over the past three years. In 2014, UNRWA provided food aid to 868,000 Palestine refugees and saw the number increase by over 65,000 refugees. The Agency expects the total number may surge to over 1 million at the end of 2015.
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 and deepening poverty. 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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