Qatar donates $1.5 million to UNRWA's emergency aid program in Gaza
The Qatar Charity announced on Wednesday that it has donated $1.5 million US dollars to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in support of its food aid service in the besieged Gaza Strip.
In a press statement sent to The New Arab, UNRWA said under this aid, some 90,300 food-insecure individuals living in the besieged Gaza Strip will be able to meet their basic food needs for three months.
Since 2007, Palestinians in Gaza have been living under a suffocating Israeli blockade, which heavily impacted the economic situation and increased the rate of unemployment.
"This dire unemployment situation is exacerbating an already fragile economy, deteriorating infrastructure, internal political divisions, and recurring cycles of conflict," UNRWA said in its statement.
Thomas White, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Gaza, said in a statement, "We believe that the food aid provided by our agency to Palestine refugees provides them with food security and preserves their dignity."
"The dedicated support provided by Qatar Charity to UNRWA indicates a great commitment to humanitarian values and participation in international development," he added.
"This support will not only help Palestine refugees meet their basic needs but also give them hope for a better future where their needs and rights are protected," he explained.
Thanking the Qatar Charity for its support of UNRWA and Palestine refugees who are in an unusually bleak situation, he said, "The State of Qatar has always been a loyal and reliable supporter and partner of UNRWA for more than 70 years, whether through its government or many organizations based in Qatar in the areas of development and relief, such as Qatar Charity Foundation, Qatar Fund for Development, and Education Above All."
He indicated that the contributions made by the State of Qatar helped UNRWA continue to provide basic services to more than 5 million Palestine refugees in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Gaza, and the West Bank, which includes East Jerusalem.
For years, UNRWA has been facing a financial crisis and a significantly reduced budget, which in turn has caused it to limit its services to refugees.
"In general, Arab support for UNRWA has declined by 90%, as support in 2018 is estimated at $US 200 million, while last year the support amounted to only $US 20 million," Adnan Abu Hasna, UNRWA's media advisor, told The New Arab.
He said that "It is important that Arab countries restore their support to UNRWA. Plans now centre around efforts being made with donors, and the recruitment of new donors to ensure the continuation of our services to refugees."
"Despite the decline in financial support, we are trying to maintain the full provision of our services... But in light of the increase in the number of refugees, and the increase in their requirements, we need to increase the financial funding to be able to continue more," Abu Hasna said.
Meanwhile, Qatar provides financial assistance to around 100,000 poor families every month, each receiving $US 100 per family.
Mohamed Abdel Aal, from Gaza City, has been receiving the Qatari grant for 15 months. Speaking to The New Arab, the 52-year-old father of seven children said that "the Qatari grant helps me monthly to buy food for my family, especially since I suffer from extreme poverty."
"It is important that such grants continue because they help hundreds of thousands of families to live with the minimum required standard of living in the Gaza Strip," he added.