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Source: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
5 July 2016


05 July 2016

On 24 and 25 of June during the holy month of Ramadan, UNRWA distributed 9,809 hot meals for a total of 26,557 impoverished Palestine refugees in the Gaza Strip due to the generous support from the Emirates-based Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation.

The benefitting families are categorised by UNRWA as Abject Poor, meaning those households who live below US$ 1.47 per person per day and do otherwise not have access to hot meals to break the fasting during Ramadan.

The hot meals were distributed through 20 Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) across the Gaza Strip. The refugees were able to access their hot meals using coupons. Each coupon included cooked rice and cooked chicken, as well as yogurt and dates. The beneficiaries received the dinners at the CBOs and then took them home to share them with family members.

“Due to the deteriorated economic situation and high unemployment rates in Gaza, many poor Palestine refugee families do not have access to hot meals, especially in Ramadan. Thanks to Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation we were able to provide thousands of families with a festive meal,” commented Mohammed Abu Daya, a Programme Officer of the UNRWA Relief and Social Services Programme.

The distribution of hot meals was implemented under the “Feed the Fasting” project; this project is framed within the UNRWA Emergency Food Assistance Programme and aims at easing food insecurity in the enclave and providing refugees with a decent standard of living.

The blockade on Gaza, now in its tenth year, and repeated cycles or armed conflict, have crippled the enclave’s trade sector and pushed a large part of the population into poverty and misery. The unemployment rate in Gaza stood at 41.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2016, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. It is practically unchanged from the unemployment rate for 2015 overall (41.1 per cent). This is higher than any other economy of the world, as reported by the World Bank. Today, approximately 80 per cent of the population in Gaza depend on humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs. While in the year 2000, UNRWA provided approximately 80,000 refugees in Gaza with food assistance, this number has increased to more than 930,000 today – almost 70 per cent of the refugee population and over 50 per cent of the total population. Basic in-kind food assistance enables poor households to allocate their limited resources to other relevant items such as fresh vegetables, meat or school stationary for their children.

The Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation has continuously provided support to Palestine refugees through UNRWA.


UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA Programme Budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall, projected for 2016 to stand at US$ 74 million. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

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

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications
+972 (0)54 240 2659
+972 (0)2 589 0267

Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
+972 (0)54 216 8295
+972 (0)2 589 0724

Najwa Sheikh Ahmad
Acting Public Information Officer - Gaza Field Office
+972 597 920 542
+972 8 2887 488

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