UNRWA LAYS THE CORNERSTONE FOR ITS BIGGEST LOGISTICS BASE IN GAZA – A PROJECT GENEROUSLY FUNDED BY THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA
31 August 2016
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On 25 August 2016 UNRWA laid the cornerstone of what will become its largest logistics base in the Gaza Strip. A ceremony was held to mark the occasion at the construction site in Rafah, southern Gaza. The ceremony was attended by the Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza, Mr. Bo Schack, UNRWA Senior External Relations and Project Officer, Mr. Munir Mannah, the Palestinian National Coalition Government Minister of Public Works and Housing, Dr.Mufeed Al Hasayna, as well as other senior UNRWA staff, representatives of other UN agencies, local Palestinian officials and community representatives.
The construction of the logistics base is made possible through a generous donation of US$10 million from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD). The base will serve as the Agency’s main warehouse for the storage of basic food and non-food items. It will also support distribution activities through 12 Distribution Centres across Gaza. Further, the logistics base will be used as maintenance workshop and fuel station for the Agency’s operations in the southern governorates of Gaza.
The logistics base is expected to be completed in September 2017 and will operate with approximately 200 UNRWA personnel, including persons hired through the Job Creation Programme.
In his speech, Mr. Schack expressed the importance of the project as well as the Agnecy's gratitude to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. “Over the past several years, UNRWA was able to construct many projects – including schools, housing projects and health centres – which would not have been possible without the trust and partnership that exists between UNRWA and Saudi Arabia,” he said. “Their ongoing support to Palestine refugees in Gaza through UNRWA is commendable.”
Construction of the logistics base started this month and will include building a warehouse compound, an open area container yard, an administration building and a fuel station. The project has the potential to be expanded at a later stage to include a workshop, a distribution centre and an additional administration building.
The construction of the logistics base is part of a comprehensive project signed between UNRWA and SFD in May 2015 to rebuild and repair housing units, construct the logistics base and support the education and health sectors in Gaza with a contribution of a total of US$62 million.
As of to date, Saudi Arabia has contributed more than US$500 million to UNRWA. Over the past three years, the Kingdom has become the Agency’s third largest donor. Since 2005, it has also been a valued member of the UNRWA Advisory Commission which advises and assists the Commissioner-General in carrying out the Agency’s mandate.
UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA Programme Budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall, projected for 2016 to stand at US$ 96.5 million. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s Programme Budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, 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 and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.
For more information, please contact:
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Najwa Sheikh Ahmad
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