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UNRWA pledging conference – Germany pledges humanitarian aid

Rafah, Palestinian territories – a family eating breakfast beside the ruins of their home in Rafah in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has reported that over half the population in the Gaza Strip may not have enough to eat.

Rafah, Palestinian territories – a family eating breakfast beside the ruins of their home in Rafah in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has reported that over half the population in the Gaza Strip may not have enough to eat., © XinHua

23.06.2020 - Article

At the pledging conference for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Germany once again pledged comprehensive humanitarian assistance for 2020.

Of the €91 million in total, which are primarily to be used for food security, €20 million will be allocated to measures to contain COVID-19 and to alleviate the humanitarian impact of the pandemic.

Minister of State Niels Annen made the following statement at the UNRWA pledging conference:

UNRWA needs financial planning security for its work. Through our support for UNRWA, we are helping it to remain the anchor of stability that the region needs.

COVID-19 is exacerbating the humanitarian situation

The already precarious situation of Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip has been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many people live in densely populated areas such as the Gaza Strip. They are particularly at risk as it is scarcely possible for people to adhere to social distancing rules in refugee accommodation. Furthermore, sanitary facilities and protective equipment are in short supply.

UNRWA’s work is essential for the refugees’ survival. The agency’s work includes running hospitals and schools in the region. Measures to contain the virus are of direct help to the people here.

Support for 5.6 million people

UNRWA was founded in 1949 to help Palestinian refugees. Its mandate covers 5.6 million registered refugees, most of whom live in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Susiya, Palestinian territories – Palestinians entering a treatment tent following the arrival of a mobile clinic. Makeshift mobile clinics have become vital for many Palestinians, as they would otherwise have hardly any access to healthcare.
Susiya, Palestinian territories – Palestinians entering a treatment tent following the arrival of a mobile clinic. Makeshift mobile clinics have become vital for many Palestinians, as they would otherwise have hardly any access to healthcare.© AP

UNRWA’s continued work reflects a reality that defines many crisis contexts, namely that there are often no short-term solutions for the effects of refugee movements and displacement. In some cases, people spend years as refugees, living in the most adverse conditions and dependent on humanitarian aid.

Reform process at UNRWA

As part of its support for the organisation, Germany is committed to a substantial and comprehensive reform process within UNRWA, with which it regularly liaises on this topic. Along with other donors, the German Government is urging the United Nations and UNRWA to implement the necessary reforms in full, as UNRWA’s structures need to be efficient and effective both internally and externally in order to provide the best possible support in all of the five areas it covers.

Further support measures

In addition to UNRWA, Germany supports other partner organisations in order to cover the enormous humanitarian need in the region.

For example, Germany provides support to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the Country-based Pooled Funds for humanitarian efforts administered by OCHA so that the necessary aid can be distributed rapidly and efficiently. The German Government also works with the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the World Food Programme (WFP) and NGOs to provide people with humanitarian aid.

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