The timely provision of COVID-19 supplies by the Government of the People’s Republic of China are being distributed across 141 UNRWA health centres in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. This donation serves some 5.7 million Palestine refugees across all five fields of UNRWA operations.
Distribution across the five fields began in October and November of 2020 and the generous donation came at a critical time for Palestine refugees, as they faced the global COVID-19 and confirmed cases began to rose sharply across the region. This donation from China also ensured that UNRWA had a reserve of personal protective equipment, buffering against the immediate consequences of the dire financial conditions the Agency faced.
China donated items are being used to equip frontline UNRWA health and non-health staff who are in constant contact with the public. Doctors, nurses, distribution workers and sanitation workers, who serve the Palestine refugees on a daily basis are provided with the supplies to ensure that services can be delivered in a safe manner and that COVID prevention measures are integrated into the humanitarian interventions to protect UNRWA beneficiaries as well as its frontline staff, thus contributing to preventing the further transmission of COVID-19 in the refugee community. Refugee patients visiting UNRWA health centres with pre-existing health conditions or displaying respiratory symptoms who are identified at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 will also benefit from this contribution.
UNRWA acting Director of External Relations Department Ms. Tamara Alrifai, on behalf of the Agency, expressed her sincere appreciation to the Government of China: “This support for Palestine refugees is greatly appreciated, coming at a time when they needed generosity most. We look forward to continuing our valued partnership with China to further mitigate the hardship of the Palestine refugees as the pandemic persists in 2021.”
Reiterating China’s continued support to UNRWA, His Excellency, Head of the Office of the People’s Republic of China to the State of Palestine, Ambassador Guo Wei, said, “As a good friend of Palestine, China has always valued the cooperation with UNRWA, and will continue to support UNRWA’s work, providing assistance to Palestine in its fight against the epidemic, improving people’s livelihood and promoting development to make positive contributions to peace, stability and development in the Middle East.”
The People’s Republic of China is a valued partner who provides enduring support for 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. 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 5.7 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.
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