Palestine refugee children playing on the street in one of the slums north of Gaza Strip. © UNRWA Gaza 2017 UNRWA Photo by Rushdi Al-Sarraj

The following is an excerpt from an article posted in UNRWA in May 2019: 

“Thousands of Gaza-based Palestine refugees are enjoying a plentiful Suhour meal thanks to a generous contribution of US$ 300,000 from Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA). IRUSA is a longstanding partner of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

IRUSA’s donation enabled UNRWA to distribute Suhour food parcels to more than 8,538 Palestine refugee families in the first days of Ramadan. Suhour is a final early morning meal Muslims eat before sunrise ahead of a day of fasting from all food and drink. These food parcels included items ranging from halva, jam, canned beans, tea, cheeses and dates.

With Gaza’s unemployment rate hovering at 56 per cent due to the 12-year blockade, more than one million Palestine refugees living in the 365 km2 rely on UNRWA for food assistance. In the face of repeated cycles of violence, restricted mobility, frequent power outages and unreliable access to safe drinking water, the food parcels distributed through the IRUSA donation provide a source of hope and joy for Palestine refugees who cannot meet their basic food needs.

Director of the UNRWA Strategic Partnerships Division Mr. Abdi Aynte stressed the importance of this support: “Palestine refugees in Gaza find themselves in the midst of violence once more as the holy month of Ramadan commences. It is support such as this for Islamic Relief USA that highlights international bonds of solidarity in times of great instability. UNRWA thanks IRUSA for its continuous support of Palestine refugees.”

Mohammed Nabahin, a Palestine refugee who lives in Bureij camp, Gaza is a recipient of IR USA support. “I have not worked for three years, and totally depend on UNRWA for food assistance.” The father of four children added, “This Ramadan, I haven’t been able to buy any food for Suhour. This IRUSA parcel just came in time.”

IRUSA was launched in 1993 and today spans the United States, Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America. Its programmes, aimed at alleviating world poverty, range from children and orphans to women’s initiatives, food aid, livelihood, education and health.

For 70 years, UNRWA has delivered effective and reliable humanitarian support to Palestine refugees. The Agency’s services include free health care and education, food and cash assistance and microcredit loans to 5.4 million Palestine refugees facing extreme hardship in Jordan, the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank.

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. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s programme budget. 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 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem 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. ”


Read the full post on UNRWA

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