Japan gives 5.7 million US dollars for food aid to Palestine refugees

Amman, 29 May 2008 – Japan today announced that it will contribute 5.7 million US dollars (Yen 600 million) to UNRWA's regular food programme for 2008 to 2009. The programme caters to the needs of the most vulnerable Palestine refugees in the five fields of UNRWA operations (the Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank).

"With this contribution, Japan and its people are once again demonstrating their strong commitment to the well-being of Palestine refugees", said UNRWA Commissioner-General, Karen AbuZayd. "The food that these funds purchase will cater to the needs of the most vulnerable Palestine refugees in the five areas where UNRWA operates. I would like to extend my warm thanks to the government and people of Japan".

Japan is among a small number of donors that regularly contribute to UNRWA's regular food programme. Over the past decade, its contribution to the Agency's food aid projects has reached 58 million US dollars.

Japanese contributions to UNRWA this year amount to 14.5 million US dollars, making Japan the Agency's 11th largest donor. Japan recently contributed 5.7 million US dollars to the Agency's Emergency Appeal for Northern Lebanon.

AbuZayd placed this contribution in the context of UNRWA's overall financial situation. "This donation comes at a time of particular financial hardship for UNRWA", she said. "For the coming year, we have a funding shortfall in real terms of about one hundred million dollars". The Commissioner-General said increased donor support was urgently needed to enable UNRWA improve refugee lives and enhance their living conditions.

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