The Government of Austria yesterday signed an agreement amounting to EUR 2 million with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in support of the Agency’s 2019 Syria Regional Crisis Emergency Appeal.
This contribution from Austria will support UNRWA cash assistance programmes to the most vulnerable Palestine refugees in Syria and help ensure that over 20,000 Palestine refugees meet their basic needs.
“We are grateful for our long-standing partnership with UNRWA as it gives us the certainty that humanitarian assistance is provided to Palestinian refugees who are in critical need of emergency support. Austria stands ready to help. Our assistance will help our partner UNRWA to meet the most pressing needs of Palestinian refugees in Syria during the current regional crisis. In particular, we welcome UNRWA‘s emergency programme, which provides a protective environment for Palestinian refugees by maintaining access to basic services including education, health, water, sanitation and hygiene as well as livelihoods,” said Astrid Wein, Austrian Representative in Ramallah.
“On behalf of UNRWA, I thank the Austrian government for its generous support to UNRWA emergency operations in Syria, which will help tens of thousands of Palestine refugees affected the conflict in Syria. I also commend Austria for responding to the Agency’s call for increased support for core health, education, relief and social services. We are most grateful for the remarkable increase of Austria’s total contribution towards UNRWA in 2019, which has reached EUR 4.35 million this year,” said Mr. Marc Lassouaoui, UNRWA Chief of Donor Relations.
Austria is a long-standing supporter of UNRWA and has provided a total of EUR 25 million in aid over the past 10 years.
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 5.4 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.
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