The Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) has contributed US$ 5 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in support of its health programme in Syria. This very generous donation is part of a US$ 20.7 million agreement that QFFD provided to the Agency in December 2019.
Conflict in Syria over the past decade has caused immense challenges for Palestine refugees, including deaths and injuries, continued internal displacement, large-scale migration to other countries, loss of livelihoods, and mounting humanitarian needs for basic survival. It has been a huge challenge for UNRWA which is having to respond to these needs of the Palestine refugees, with its reducing funding resources. The Agency has also had significant destruction of its installations, including health centres and schools.
The Agency delivers various primary health-care services, including out-patient consultations, vaccinations, growth monitoring, provision of medicines, gynecological consultations, laboratory services, care for non-communicable diseases, maternal and child health care and dental services. Health services are delivered through its 25 health facilities across Syria, including two mobile health clinics that cater mainly to the refugee population in Yalda and Yarmouk, Damascus and Ein el Tal camp in Aleppo. Furthermore, the Agency provides subsidized support to Palestine refugees seeking secondary and tertiary health care through a system of referral to public hospitals.
Expressing his thanks, Dr. Akihiro Seita, Director of Health at UNRWA HQ in Amman, said: “On behalf of UNRWA, I thank the QFFD for their continued and generous support to our health programme in Syria. This contribution helps ensure that UNRWA can continue to provide crucial and life-saving health-care services to Palestine refugees. We highly value the outstanding commitment shown by the QFFD to sustaining the delivery of basic health-care services to Palestine refugees in Syria.”
Qatar Fund for Development Director-General Khalifa Bin Jassim Al Kuwari said: “This contribution testifies to the Fund’s strong continued support of the long and healthy lives of Palestine refugees in Syria.”
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 5.7million 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.