Press Release
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York

22 July 2002


ABU DHABI, 20 July (UNRWA) -- The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Red Crescent Society today entered into an agreement with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to provide $27 million to rebuild and repair Jenin camp following the events of April this year.  The money will be used to rebuild or repair refugee shelters, camp infrastructure and communal facilities destroyed or damaged in the April fighting.
The Jenin agreement is the first achievement of what UNRWA hopes will be a fruitful partnership between the UAE Red Crescent Society and the Agency.  The UNRWA and the UAE Red Crescent Society will now focus on new projects to alleviate the suffering of the Palestine refugees.
The UNRWA estimates that 400 families were made homeless when their shelters were completely destroyed during the Israeli military action in the camp.  An additional 1,500 shelters were damaged to varying degrees.  The homeless are currently being housed in tents or in rented accommodation near the camp.  The UNRWA has been providing food, medicines, cash assistance, kitchen kits and other relief to the homeless refugees in Jenin camp since April.
The Agency has undertaken to rebuild the camp over the course of the next two years in three phases.  In phase one, which is planned to take nine months, UNRWA will complete its work assessing the damage and the needs of the refugees, demolishing structures, preparing designs and removing rubble and any remaining unexploded ordnance.  It will also make minor repairs to the refugee shelters that need them and begin rehabilitating buildings with major structural damage. Phase one will also involve the rehabilitation of around 70 homes belonging to  the camp’s most impoverished residents that are badly in need of improvement.
In phase two, which should take 19 months, UNRWA will completely reconstruct 400 shelters and rebuild the camp’s water supply, sewage, electricity, roads, pathways and public areas.  In phase three, planned to take 15 months, repair and reconstruction work will be done to communal facilities such as schools, health centres and mosques.  All three phases are designed to overlap to allow UNRWA to meet its two-year deadline.
The project will be implemented in coordination with the refugees themselves, the Municipality of Jenin and the Palestinian Authority.  During the building works, UNRWA will make use of local Palestinian contractors, workers and suppliers to the maximum extent possible.
Peter Hansen, UNRWA’s Commissioner-General, signed the agreement for the Jenin project on behalf of the Agency at a ceremony in Abu Dhabi today.  Khalifa Nasser Al-Suwaidi, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the UAE Red Crescent Society, signed on behalf of the Society.  Mr. Hansen said after the ceremony: “This very generous donation from the people of the United Arab Emirates and His Royal Highness Sheikh Zayed is a great humanitarian gesture and will, I am sure, do much to remind Palestinian refugees that their plight has not been forgotten by the outside world.  It is also a strong vote of confidence by the United Arab Emirates in the ability of UNRWA to quickly and transparently execute a project of this size and marks a new level of cooperation between the Agency and Abu Dhabi.”
While in Abu Dhabi, Mr. Hansen will hold substantive discussions with the UAE Red Crescent Society and with Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Hamdan on future areas of cooperation and partnership that will allow the Society to contribute funds and expertise to the cause of Palestine refugees.
For more information contact:  Paul McCann on (+) 972 59 428 008.
* *** *
For information media - not an official record