Muntada Aid, a United Kingdom based non-profit organization has pledged support to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) emergency assistance programme in Gaza. This contribution will provide food assistance to Palestine refugees across the besieged Gaza Strip, now facing fourteen years of a land, air and naval blockade.
In response to the 11-day escalation in violence, beginning on 10 May 2021, UNRWA launched a 30-day Flash Appeal urgently seeking US$ 38 million to respond to the immediate food, non-food, health, psychosocial, sanitation and emergency response needs of Palestine refugees. The Agency will continue to adapt its services to their evolving needs.
The impact of the continued blockade, combined with the economic fallout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has fueled unprecedented levels of unemployment in Gaza, reported at 49 per cent in 2020. Home to some 1.2 million Palestine refugees who count on UNRWA food assistance, some 68.5 per cent of the population has been deemed food insecure, with 47 per cent deemed severely food insecure. In 2020, some 79 per cent of Gazan households resorted to borrowing money or using credit to buy food.
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.