Press Release No. HQ/G/10/2004

13 May, 2004


EC and ECHO donate €67.3 million to UNRWA

Gaza –
The European Commission and its Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) announced today a series of donations to assist Palestine refugees valued at a total of €67.3 million.

This funding will be used by UNRWA, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, to alleviate some of the hardships suffered by refugees in the occupied Palestinian territory, and to operate its regular humanitarian programmes across the Middle East.

The bulk of the funding, €60,637,500, will be used by UNRWA across Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The funding, which is likely to be the second largest contribution to UNRWA's programmes this year, will support education, health, relief and social services and micro-credit programmes that contribute to the human development of the 4. 1 million refugees registered with UNRWA.

The donation is made under the terms of a framework agreement with UNRWA that sees the EU pledge funds to UNRWA over the medium term. The agreement allows the Agency a degree of financial planning.

An additional €5.7 million has been contributed through ECHO for UNRWA's emergency appeal for refugees in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. These funds will assist refugees who have been impoverished and traumatised by the effects of the intifada. UNRWA will use the donation to provide emergency food assistance, job creation schemes and to create after -school activities for Palestinian school children.

The European Commission has also announced today a donation of €1 million to UNRWA towards its Palestine Refugee Records Project. Under this project UNRWA is digitising millions of family files and records going back to its foundation in 1950. The completion of the project will both assist UNRWA's day-to-day registration operations and will allow for the preservation of a unique historical archive.

For more information call Paul McCann on 059 428 008