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28 February 2005

Press Release No. HQ/G/06/2005

28 February 2005

Saudi Fund for Development Donates $20 Million
for Rehousing Homeless Refugees in Gaza

Geneva -

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Fund for Development has announced a donation of US$ 20 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in response to the Agency’s Emergency Appeal for the occupied Palestinian territory. This generous contribution will fund a major re-housing project in Rafah in southern Gaza for many of the thousands of refugees who have lost their homes during Israeli demolition operations in the town’s refugee camp during the last four years.

Using the Saudi Fund donation, the Agency will be able to provide more than 4,000 homeless refugees in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip over 700 new homes. UNRWA will also use the funding to develop new public facilities for education, health and social services and the infrastructure necessary for the project. This new community will be built on land donated by the Palestinian Authority to the Agency.

This project is also expected to generate several hundred thousand working-days, thus alleviate the extremely difficult job situation in the Gaza Strip.

According to UNRWA’s statistics, by the end of December 2004, a total of 2,991 buildings, home to over 28,483 people, had been demolished or damaged beyond repair in the Gaza Strip since the start of the strife. The Agency’s emergency rehousing programme has so far only had the funds to build or start planning 903 replacement shelters.

A memorandum of understanding between UNRWA and the Saudi Fund for Development was signed today in Geneva between Mr Yousef Ibrahim Al-Bassam, the Vice Chairman and Managing Director of the Saudi Fund and Mr Peter Hansen, UNRWA’s Commissioner-General.

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