Deputy Commissioner General Filippo Grandi expressed UNRWA's gratitude on receiving a cheque for over $140,650 from Mr. Piotr Puchta, Representative of the Republic of Poland to the Palestinian Authority. This sum comprises the annual Polish contribution to UNRWA and includes over $118,550 for the General Fund.
The General Fund provides essential services in the areas of education, health, relief and social services, microfinance and micro-enterprise to Palestine refugees. The $118,550 sum contributed by Poland could, for example, allow UNRWA to provide food supplies to more than ten thousand people for two months.
Mr. Grandi thanked the Polish government for their steady and growing support of UNRWA, welcoming the significant increase in this year's contribution which constituted a five fold increase from 2005.
The Polish government began annual contributions to the General Fund in 2002 with a donation of $20,000 and has continued to contribute annually to UNRWA ever since. To date Poland has contributed a total of over $389,000 to the Agency.
Some 4.6 million Palestine refugees in UNRWA's five fields of operations - Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem - are eligible for Agency services, including education, healthcare, social services, shelter, micro-credit loans and emergency aid. UNRWA employs nearly 30,000 staff, the vast majority of whom are Palestine refugees. UNRWA's operations are financed almost entirely by voluntary contributions from donors. The Agency's regular budget for 2008-2009 is $1.1 billion, which covers the recurrent costs of the Agency's education, health and relief and social services activities. UNRWA's headquarters are in Gaza City and Amman.