The German government has announced an additional donation of EUR 600,000 to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The contribution will help to provide emergency food aid to 667,500 food-insecure Palestine refugees living in Gaza.
The new contribution brings Germany’s total support for this year’s UNRWA food aid and school feeding activities in Gaza up to EUR 6.1 million. All the funds support UNRWA’s 2012 Emergency Appeal, which aims to mitigate the effects on refugees of the situation in Gaza as well as the West Bank. In addition to that, Germany contributed EUR 8 million towards UNRWA’s core activities in 2012.
UNRWA Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi thanked the Government of Germany on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of food-insecure Palestine refugees living in the Gaza Strip.
“Just two months ago, I had cause to thank the Government of Germany for an additional contribution towards our emergency food programme in Gaza.
“With this latest contribution, I again extend my utmost gratitude. Against the backdrop of a severe funding shortfall for our Emergency Appeal, this generous support will help us deliver essential aid to those who need it most.”
“Germany has been among the strongest donors of UNRWA and effectively contributes to its operations”, said Barbara Wolf, Head of the German Representative Office in Ramallah. “The recent support to the Agency’s food aid programme demonstrates that Germany is helping to ease the humanitarian situation of Palestine refugees who are most in need.”
The problem of food insecurity - when families do not have access to enough food – is exacerbated by widespread poverty and a lack of employment opportunities in Gaza which are a direct consequence of the Israeli-imposed blockade.
The latest German contribution helps to fill a widening gap between the increasing budgetary requirements to meet growing humanitarian needs in Gaza, and the steadily decreasing funds available for UNRWA’s emergency programmes. The funding shortfall for the last round of 2012 Emergency Appeal food aid currently stands at USD 6.2 million. If the shortfall is not met by mid-November, the Agency will have to reduce the food basket for those refugees in Gaza it classifies as absolute poor.
This year’s emergency contribution comes in addition to Germany’s support of UNRWA’s main programmes: education, health, relief, microfinance, infrastructure and camp improvement.
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, microfinance and emergency assistance.
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, supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the budget deficit stands at USD 37 million.
The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates that 35 per cent of Gaza’s farmland and 85 per cent of its fishing waters are totally or partially inaccessible.
UNRWA recently reported that 44 per cent of Gaza’s population is food insecure. In addition, 80 per cent of the population receives humanitarian aid.
A recent joint report from UNRWA and other UN bodies concluded that without remedial action now, Gaza's problems in water and electricity, education and health will only get worse over the coming years.
For more information, please contact:
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UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0724
Office: +972 (0)2 297 7648