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Comprehensive and continuous support from Islamic Relief USA for Gaza Refugees

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Since 2013, Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA) has donated US$ 12.6 million to support Palestine refugees in Gaza through UNRWA, enabling the Agency to run services ranging from the distribution of food packages to the provision of milk and snacks for UNRWA students or the disbursement of emergency non-food items such as mattresses, blankets and hygiene kits for internally-displaced persons (IDPs) in UNRWA Collective Centres.

“We are very grateful to have IRUSA as a committed and creative partner, especially in the past three years, where they provided timely and significant financial contributions in support of projects in Gaza,” commented UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl on the relationship between the Agency and IRUSA during a meeting with IRUSA Chief Executive Officer Anwar Ahmed Khan on March 17.

IRUSA has substantially increased its support for refugees in Gaza during and since last summer’s armed hostilities, investing in health, education, psychosocial support and water and sanitation projects. At the beginning of 2015, UNRWA received further donations from IRUSA and will be able to implement innovative and essential projects such as a programme to ensure a clean environment in collective centres through the provision of potable and non-potable water. The project includes the installation of wells to provide domestic water in nine UNRWA schools that serve as designated emergency shelters and training for UNRWA staff on emergency maintenance of critical water and sanitation facilities. Furthermore, the contribution will be used to provide IDPs with medicines, to purchase necessary medical equipment for UNRWA health clinics and to conduct health-related awareness and information campaigns.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

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$ 100 million.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness UNRWA Spokesperson Mobile: +972 (0)54 240 2659 Office: +972 (0)2 589 0267 c.gunness@unrwa.org

Sami Mshasha Chief of Communications & Arabic Language Spokesperson Mobile: +972 (0)54 216 8295 Office: +972 (0)2 589 0724 s.mshasha@unrwa.org

Milina Shahin Public Information Officer - Gaza Field Office Mobile: +972 599 609 485 Office: +972 8 2887213 m.shahin2@unrwa.org