Food security: Louis Michel signs EUR 14 million agreement with UNRWA
EU Commissioner for development and humanitarian aid, Louis Michel, has today signed in Gaza a financing agreement worth EUR 14 million for the UNRWA-coordinated food security programme. Mr Michel is on a three-day mission to Israel and the Palestinian territories to assess a humanitarian situation, which continues to give cause for concern. On signing the agreement, Commissioner Michel pointed out that for more than 30 years the European Union had been supporting the activities of UNRWA, which works in difficult conditions to meet the most urgent humanitarian needs. “In signing this agreement I want to reaffirm the European Commission’s solidarity with the civilian victims of the fighting,” he said.
EU solidarity with the Palestinian refugees takes tangible shape in a substantial financial contribution to the activities of the UN agency, to which the European Commission is the chief donor.
In 2005 alone, the Commission mobilised humanitarian aid totalling nearly EUR 37 million to help meet the needs of the four million Palestinian refugees in the West Bank and Gaza, and in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. This aid has helped finance emergency humanitarian aid, temporary jobs, psychological support for children, housing aid for victims of demolitions and rehabilitation of shelters in refugee camps.
20% of this EUR 37 million for humanitarian aid operations in the Middle East will go on UNRWA operations in Gaza and the West Bank, besides helping Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.