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Source: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
20 October 2014


HELPING HAND FOR RELIEF AND DEVELOPMENT CONTRIBUTES US$ 50,000 TO HELP PALESTINIANS IN GAZA

20 October 2014
Washington, DC


منظمة يد العون للإغاثة والتنمية تتبرع بمبلغ 50,000 لمساعدة الفلسطينيين في غزة

Helping Hand for Relief and Development (HHRD) and UNRWA have announced a US$ 50,000 agreement to provide urgently needed emergency relief assistance to Palestine refugees in the Gaza Strip.

HHRD has worked with UNRWA to fund scholarships in Gaza, Jordan and Lebanon since 2012 and funded a school feeding programme in Gaza for Palestine refugees in 2013. This recent contribution will support nearly 4,500 food rations for 642 internally displaced people in Gaza who are currently living in UNRWA emergency shelters. The contribution will also cover important non-food items—particularly hygiene kits—for another 75 families, or approximately 375 people.

HHRD Coordinator for the Mid-Atlantic Region Asif Khan thanked UNRWA for the long-established partnership in providing humanitarian services directly to Palestine Refugees. “Through continuing generous giving from our benefactors and partners like UNRWA, we will continue to work hard to cater to the needs of as many people as possible; helping save the lives of hundreds,” Mr. Khan said.

At the height of this summer’s violence in Gaza, nearly 300,000 Palestine refugees were internally displaced in UNRWA shelters. Hundreds of thousands remain homeless in Gaza with around 80,000 family homes impacted during the conflict. The Director of the UNRWA Washington representative office, Matthew Reynolds, said that despite the current ceasefire, the suffering of Gaza’s population continues. “These civilians have lost everything—many leaving their homes with literally only the clothes they were wearing,” Mr. Reynolds said. “Providing them with non-food items like blankets, jerry cans for water storage, diapers and family hygiene kits are the basics needed for survival and a start on the long road of recovery.”

UNRWA serves approximately 1.26 million Palestine refugees in Gaza, representing more than 70 per cent of the total population. For the past decade, the socio-economic situation in Gaza has been in steady decline. The blockade continues to have a devastating effect as access to markets and people’s movement to and from the Gaza Strip remain severely restricted. The number of Palestine refugees relying on UNRWA for food aid has increased from fewer than 80,000 in 2000 to over 830,000 today.

Operating with more than 12,500 staff across the Gaza Strip, UNRWA delivers education, health care, relief and social services, microcredit and emergency assistance to registered Palestine refugees. During humanitarian emergencies such as the recent conflict, the Agency also extends its services to non-refugees. Donations to help cover the cost of UNRWA humanitarian operations, such as this contribution from HHRD, are especially crucial to assisting an already vulnerable population.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 56 million.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
Mobile:
+972 (0)54 240 2659
Office:
+972 (0)2 589 0267
c.gunness@unrwa.org(link sends e-mail)

Sami Mshasha
UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson
Mobile:
+972 (0)54 216 8295
Office:
+972 (0)2 589 0724
s.mshasha@unrwa.or


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