10 July 2015

Generous support from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is making a meaningful difference to Palestine refugees in Syria as they celebrate the holy month of Ramadan this year.

In 2014, the UAE donated US$ 15 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) food assistance programme in Syria. While this contribution from the UAE provided urgently needed support for Palestine refugees, the UNRWA General Fund deficit still stands at US$ 101 million.

Funding from the UAE contributed to the final round of food assistance in 2014 and several rounds of food assistance in 2015. The UAE support helped UNRWA distribute 146,282 family food parcels in Syria.

“Food assistance makes a critical difference in the lives of Palestine refugees whose resources have been devastated by four years of brutal conflict,” said Michael Kingsley-Nyinah, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Syria. “UNRWA is grateful to the UAE for their reliable and continuous support. This has particular meaning during Ramadan, as families gather together to break their fast and which is based on the concept of giving.”

Items in the UNRWA food parcel, including rice, lentils, canned meat andhalawa, can help provide beneficiaries with the basis for a nourishing iftar meal. Each parcel provides recipients with 700 kcal per person per day over a period of a month. Combined with cash assistance, UNRWA seeks to ensure that family members meet their minimum daily nutritional needs.

UNRWA is grateful for the ongoing support from the UAE and their generous contributions. In 2014, the UAE was the third largest donor to the Syria Emergency Appeal and contributed to over 53 per cent of all food assistance funding received for 2014.


UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions, and financial support has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees and deepening poverty. As a result, the UNRWA General Fund, which supports core essential services and most staffing costs, operates with a large deficit. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large deficits, 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 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness

Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications


+972 (0)54 240 2659


+972 (0)2 589 0267

Sami Mshasha

Chief of Communications & Arabic Language Spokesperson


+972 (0)54 216 8295


+972 (0)2 589 0724