Press Releases

    PAL/1921
    3 July 2002

    UN Relief Agency for Palestine Refugees Asks Donors for $55.7 Million in Extra Aid for West Bank

    GAZA, 2 July (UNRWA) -- The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) today briefed representatives from around 30 countries on the humanitarian needs of refugees in the West Bank following the two military offensives in March and April.

    At meetings in Jerusalem and Amman the Agency outlined eight main areas of work where funds are urgently needed to help the refugees. The $55 million called for is additional to the $117 million UNRWA requested in January for its emergency programmes. The eight areas are:

    • $26 million for emergency shelter repair and reconstruction;
    • $5 million for emergency relief and social assistance to counter growing poverty;
    • $600,000 for emergency education for children unable to reach their schools;
    • $465,000 to meet the demand for extra medical services and trauma counselling;
    • $11 million to repair the damaged roads, water supplies and other infrastructure;
    • $1 million for additional emergency food aid;
    • $750,000 for emergency employment programmes for the poorest families;
    • $3 million in additional logistical costs arising from the incursions and the impact of closures and curfews.

    UNRWA expects to secure a major donation from the United Arab Emirates Red Crescent Society that will cover the cost of the repair and reconstruction of shelters and infrastructure in the centre of Jenin refugee camp. Around 400 families have been made homeless in Jenin camp while another 1,200 shelters in Jenin, Balata, Tulkarm and Dheisheh camps are in need of urgent repairs.

    Of the $117 million originally requested by UNRWA, prior to the events of March and April, for its emergency programme, it has so far received pledges of $53 million (45 per cent) and actual donations received worth $40 million (34 per cent).

    Karen Koning Abu Zayd, UNRWA's Deputy Commissioner General, told donors that the Agency needs the extra funding immediately if it is to be able to continue its work. "The money already donated for 2002 has been spent, yet the need for UNRWA's work continues to grow. Our food distribution, employment programmes and other humanitarian work will start to grind to a halt if we do not urgently receive fresh funding."

    For more information contact: Paul McCann on 08 677 7526/059 428 008 or go to the UNRWA Web site: www.un.org/unrwa/emergency/index.htm

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