UK GIVES US $4.7 MILLION TO MEET GAZA SHELTER NEEDS THROUGH UNRWA
The Government of the United Kingdom, through the Department for International Development (DFID), has contributed a further US $4.7 million) to the UNRWA Flash Appeal for Gaza.
This funding will help UNRWA meet the urgent shelter needs of Palestine refugees in Gaza as winter sets in – it is enough to provide rental assistance to 30,000 vulnerable individuals (over 5,000 families) whose homes were severely damaged or destroyed in the recent conflict.
Announcing the donation, the head of DFID’s Palestinian Programme, Robin Milton, said: “The UK is delivering on its promises made at the Cairo conference. This US $4.7 million will help meet urgent needs as winter sets in. We are standing by the people of Gaza at this difficult time. We call on all donors to step up reconstruction efforts”. Robin Milton added: “The events in Gaza this summer took a terrible toll. We need to see lasting change in Gaza; we urge the parties to return to negotiations to find a durable solution to the conflict.”
Thanking the UK Government for its longstanding support, UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl said, “I am very grateful for this important additional contribution from the UK which is so urgently needed by homeless families in Gaza. We urge donors to fulfil pledges made at the Cairo Conference for the reconstruction of Gaza. In addition to urgently needed humanitarian aid and reconstruction, firm political action is required to address the underlying causes of the conflict, including the blockade and occupation. The people of Gaza need hope, change and real economic opportunities, as well as lasting stability and peace.”
The UK has provided US $26.6 million in humanitarian support to people in Gaza this summer, supporting a range of essential services provided by UNRWA, the World Food Programme, the International Committee of the Red Cross and local NGOs. DFID announced an additional US $31.3 million contribution at the Cairo conference. This latest contribution brings to US $7.8 million the funding DFID has disbursed so far from the Cairo pledge.
UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.
Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 56 million.
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