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Source: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
3 December 2008


PRESS RELEASE
3 December 2008

UNRWA inaugurates ECHO-funded shelter rehabilitation project


HE Vassilis Bontosoglou, Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Commission to Syria attended today the inauguration ceremony of refugee shelters re-habilitated with funds from the European Community’s Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO).

This rehabilitation effort costing nearly EURO 1 million will improve the physical living conditions of 113 Palestinian refugee families in Khan Dannoun, Khan Eshieh, Lattakia, Ramadan and Dera’a Camps in Syria. The shelters targeted by UNRWA’s rehabilitation programme were in urgent need of reconstruction, as they no longer provided safe and sanitary living conditions.

"The ECHO donation is a testament to the international community’s commitment to uphold Palestine refugees’ right to decent living conditions pending a solution to their plight," Ambassador Bontosoglou told the audience.

Panos Moumtzis, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Syria, expressed his profound gratitude for the generous and continued support from the European Commission to UNRWA. The EC-funded projects, including shelter rehabilitation and others focusing on employability and safe water provision are important investments in the Palestine refugee community and create tangible difference to people’s lives." Mr. Moumtzis said. He also extended his appreciation to the Syrian Government for continued support for UNRWA and Palestine refugees in Syria.

Ali Mustafa, Director-General of GAPAR, added: "the project highlights the cooperation between the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic, UNRWA and donors to provide better services to Palestine refugees."

Since 1971, the European Commission has regularly supported UNRWA, becoming one of its largest donors. The European Commission is also supporting Iraqi refugees in Syria and has donated € 60 million Euros through ECHO and its bilateral EC-Syria cooperation channels over the last two years.

Some 4.6 million Palestine refugees in UNRWA’s five areas of operations – Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem – are eligible for Agency services, including education, healthcare, social services, shelter, micro-credit loans and emergency aid. UNRWA employs nearly 30,000 staff, the vast majority of whom are Palestine refugees. UNRWA’s operations are financed almost entirely by voluntary contributions from donors.


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