The Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, H.E. Mr. Guo Wei and the Commissioner General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Mr. Philippe Lazzarini, signed a contribution agreement of US$ 1 million in support of food assistance in Gaza, which is part of the Agency’s 2020 occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) Emergency Appeal. UNRWA provides a critical humanitarian lifeline to more than one million Palestine refugees in Gaza, who depend on food aid to meet their most basic food security needs.
Contributions from China in the last two years were also allocated to mitigate the effects of food insecurity among Palestine refugee families in Gaza, most of whom now face the unprecedented global pandemic COVID-19. This new contribution ensures the health and safety of Palestine refugees, including special risk mitigation measures to avoid overcrowding at distribution centres, sanitation of distribution centres to ensure the safe provision of food assistance and PPE for frontline staff.
Announcing their support for UNRWA core food assistance activities, His Excellency, Head of the Office of the People’s Republic of China to the State of Palestine, Ambassador Guo Wei said: “China attaches great importance to its cooperation with the Agency. China will, as always, support the work of UNRWA and continue to provide assistance to Palestine refugees and their economic and social development.”
UNRWA Commissioner General, Mr. Philippe Lazzarini expressed his sincere appreciation to the Government of China for its support to the Agency: “China’s generous contribution will help UNRWA provide life-saving food assistance to over one million Palestine refugees in Gaza. I hope that this cooperation will continue to grow, reflecting China’s support to UNRWA.”
The Government of China has been consistently providing support to UNRWA. This year, China also ships substantial amount of personal protective equipment to the Agency’s five fields of operation in the Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria to help the Agency assist and protect Palestine refugees in the face of the continuing challenges associated with the pandemic.
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 5.6 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.