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30 November 2005
Gaza, November 30, 2005
Food Security : Louis Michel signs a €14 million agreement with UNRWA
The European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel, is today in Gaza to sign a financing agreement worth €14 million for the Food Security Programme coordinated by UNRWA. Commissioner Michel is on a three-day mission in Israel and the Palestinian Territories to evaluate the humanitarian situation, which remains worrying.
At the signing, Commissioner Michel announced: “For more than 30 years, the European Union has supported UNRWA, an organization that works in difficult conditions to respond to the most urgent humanitarian needs. In signing this agreement, I hope to reaffirm the solidarity of the European Commission with the civilian victims of the conflict.”
Filippo Grandi, UNRWA Deputy Commissioner-General, thanked Commissioner Michel, saying: “UNRWA is very grateful to the European Commission for its generous support. The EC contribution will go a long way towards helping the most vulnerable among Palestine refugees survive and cope with the effects of their dire economic situation. This support is also an important message for the refugee community that they have not been forgotten; their needs remain at the forefront of the international community’s concerns.”
This European solidarity with Palestinian refugees is demonstrated concretely by a substantial financial contribution to the activities of this United Nations Agency, to which the EU is the leading donor.
In 2005 alone, the Commission has already mobilised nearly €37 million on a purely humanitarian basis to respond to the needs of the four million Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and in Lebanon. This aid has financed emergency food assistance, temporary employment, psychological support for children, housing assistance for victims of house demolitions, as well as shelter rehabilitation in refugee camps.
Notably, 20% of the €37 million allocated for humanitarian aid operations in the Middle East finances UNRWA’s operations in Gaza and the West Bank, and also aids Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, in Jordan, and in Syria.
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Contact: Nathalie Charbonneau: + 32 498 981 240 / Amadeu Altafaj: + 32 498 952 658