The European Commission will contribute 11 million euros (about $14.3 million) to support the work of the United Nations assisting Palestinian refugees in Syria, Lebanon and the occupied Palestinian territory, the UN agency charged with these tasks said today.
In a news release, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said it will use the contribution from the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) to ease the pressure on its humanitarian programmes at a time when the needs of its beneficiaries are growing.
“ECHO has been a strong supporter of humanitarian aid to Palestine refugees for over a decade,” said UNRWA's Commissioner-General, Filippo Grandi. “Their support for emergency programming across these fields of operation could not come at a more critical time.”
Of the 11 million euros, 1.5 million euros will fund UNRWA's work in Syria, where some 225,000 Palestinian refugees have been directly affected by the violence that has killed more than 18,000 people, mostly civilians, since the uprising against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad began last year.
Six million euros will be used to provide food aid in Gaza, particularly targeting distribution for agency-run schools. The aid will reach some 735,000 refugees, UNRWA said. An additional two million euros will be spent on a job creation programme to relieve economic hardship for 26,000 refugee families in the West Bank.
In Lebanon, UNRWA will be able to continue its food aid to the Nahr el-Bared camp in the northern part of the country, with one million euros from ECHO's contribution going to support for 26,000 people.
In addition, over one million euros will be spent on UNRWA's protection programmes in Lebanon and the West Bank, to protect the rights of Palestinian refugees and prevent them from experiencing forced displacement.
Established by the General Assembly in 1949, UNRWA is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some five million registered Palestinian refugees in various countries throughout the Middle East. Its services include education, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, health care and emergency assistance.