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29 November 2005

Press Release No. HQ/G/19/2005
29 November 2005

Rebuilding Khan Younis Camp
United Arab Emirates donates USD $13 million to re-house homeless refugees

The United Arab Emirates Red Crescent Society (UAERC) formally announced a donation of US$ 13 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). The funds will be used to provide new or repaired housing for 600 Palestinian families in Khan Younis, most of them refugees. This generous donation will also be used to upgrade the camp's physic al infrastructure.

Over 750 homes were demolished or damaged beyond repair in Khan Younis refugee camp in the Gaza Strip during Israeli demolition operations in the camp in the last four years.

The USD $13 million agreement was signed today at UAERC offices in Abu Dhabi by H.E. Khalifa Nasser Al-Swaidi, Chairman of the Society and Ms. Karen Koning AbuZayd, UNRWA's Commissioner-General.

In public statements to the press following the signing of the agreement the UAERC chairman said:" The initiative of H.H. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al- Nahyan, the UAE President, to rebuild destroyed shelters in Khan Younis is in keeping up with the commitment of his father the Late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, who was instrumental in donating USD $27 million to rebuild Jenin camp and was instrumental in channeling financial and other forms of support to the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza."

Thanking the government and people of the UAE, UNRWA's Commissioner -- General commented that "the project is the first tangible response from the international community that Palestinians will see in post-disengagement Gaza. It is expected to generate several hundred thousand working-days, alleviating the difficult job situation following Israel's disengagement from the Gaza Strip, providing much needed support to the economy."

By the end of December 2004, a total of 2,991 buildings, home to over 28,000 people, had been demolished or damaged beyond repair in Gaza. The Agency's emergency rehousing programme has so far built or started planning for 903 replacement shelters. Construction of an additional 1,210 shelters is currently underway in Rafah.


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