UAE FUNDING PROVIDES MUCH-NEEDED FOOD AID FOR PALESTINE REFUGEES IN SYRIA
08 January 2015
UNRWA DISTRIBUTES FOOD PARCELS TO OVER 93,000 DURING FIRST ROUND OF ASSISTANCE
Last month, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) started distributing food parcels to over 93,000 Palestine refugees in the Damascus area of Syria. This much-needed aid was made possible by the generous support and funding of the United Arab Emirates, which donated $15 million to provide food assistance to conflict affected Palestine refugees in Syria in July 2014.
The agreement between the UAE’s Ministry of International Cooperation and Development (MICAD), which oversees the implementation of effective humanitarian aid programs, and UNRWA provides two rounds of critical food assistance to some of the 460,000 affected Palestine refugees in Syria. With funding from the UAE, UNRWA has been able to procure and distribute over 630 metric tons of food to refugees thus far, with the next round of distribution planned for February 2015.
It is a timely reminder of the deep and continuous suffering of the Palestine refugees remaining in Syria, the vast majority of whom now rely on UNRWA for their basic nutritional needs. They are experiencing chronic food insecurity as a result of the collapsed agricultural industry and soaring inflation, which reached more than 89 percent in 2013. More than half of the Palestine refugee population in Syria has been internally displaced, and most have lost family members, homes, incomes and livelihoods. Unemployment across the country has reached 54 percent and most refugees have exhausted any savings they may have previously had.
Palestine refugees in Syria are now entering their fourth winter of hardship. As families divert their incomes to provide adequate shelter, heating and warm clothing, food assistance provided by UNRWA, through the generous donations of the UAE, becomes even more critical to their welfare and resilience.
from the Ministry of International Cooperation and Development said:“The UAE remains supportive and committed to those in need, wherever they are today, and will continue to work with our international partners to provide support to host countries and host communities. UNRWA is an important partner in this endeavour and we look forward to working with them now and in the future.”
The Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Pierre Krähenbühl, expressed his appreciation for this funding, saying: “We are very grateful to the people and Government of the UAE for this food donation to Palestine refugees in Syria where, due to the devastating armed conflict, food insecurity continues to rise. We take it as an expression of trust in UNRWA and the work carried out by our staff under difficult conditions, for the benefit of the Palestine refugee population in Syria.”
Since 2012, the UAE has committed USD 109.4 million to those displaced by conflict in Syria. In addition to financial assistance, the UAE supports a number of educational and health initiatives, including the establishment of a 10,000 person refugee camp and a field hospital in Jordan.
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$ 35 million.
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