India donates USD 1 million to UNRWA

29 November 2012, Jerusalem – For the second year running, India has donated USD 1 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. The money will go towards UNRWA’s General Fund, which supports cores services such as education for some half a million children across the Middle East. In some 700 schools, UNRWA teaches the curriculum of the host authorities (Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank) as well as its own dedicated human rights programme.

At a ceremony in Jerusalem, the Director of UNRWA’s Department of External Relations and Communications Salvatore Lombardo said: “At a time when we are expanding the donor base of contributions to our core services, this donation is particularly welcome news.”

Indian Representative B. S. Mubarak said: “We are happy to announce this contribution as a message of support on the day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people.“

Indian has been supporting UNRWA since 1951 and has contributed USD 6 million dollars to date.

Despite the generous donations from countries such as India, at present, the deficit in UNRWA's General Fund stands at USD 21.3 million. As a consequence of the ongoing shortfall, the Agency has temporarily frozen payments to creditors for all but life-saving services and supplies. As soon as the financial situation improves, normal payments to creditors will resume.

The funding shortfall for the last round of the Gaza Emergency Appeal's food aid, which is earmarked for distribution in January 2013, currently stands at USD 4.8 million. In order to complete procurement in time, the outstanding funds need to be received within the next week to avoid any reduction in services.

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Background information

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency assistance.

Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund, supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the budget deficit stands at USD 21 million.

For more information, please contact:

Chris Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0267

Sami Mshasha
UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0724