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Ireland Pledges €1 million to UNRWA Syria Emergency Appeal

The Representative Office of Ireland in Palestine were pleased to announce to UNRWA on 6 October that Ireland would contribute €1 million to the Agency's Syria Emergency Appeal. This latest pledge brings Ireland's total contribution to UNRWA in 2016 to €5.5 million.

An UNRWA Camp. Credit: Alberto Hugo Rojas.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is a United Nations agency established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1949, with a mandate to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees across five Field Offices in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

UNRWA helps Palestine refugees 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, and microfinance.

Ireland's €1 million contribution will go towards supporting the basic humanitarian needs of Palestine refugees affected by the conflict in Syria. Palestine refugees have been disproportionately affected by this conflict, with an estimated 450,000 of the 560,000 UNRWA registered refugees remaining inside the country and well over half of them now internally displaced. 95% are in need of sustained humanitarian assistance.

UNRWA Commissioner General Pierre Krähenbühl welcomed Ireland's contribution, saying that the announcement was "a powerful confirmation of Ireland's trust and deeply valued support" for UNRWA's work.

During a visit to the oPt in June of this year, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charles Flanagan TD announced a contribution of €4 million to UNRWA's General Fund, saying that he was "committed to maintaining the same contribution level in 2017 and 2018. This multiannual commitment will allow UNRWA greater predictability and flexibility for improved delivery of basic services such as food, water, education and social services to Palestine refugees and will help make a real difference to the lives of this very vulnerable population." This funding was allocated to UNRWA's General Fund, helping the Agency to deliver core services. Over the period 2005-2015, Ireland provided €39.65 million to UNRWA's General Fund.

Minister Flanagan also announced a €500,000 contribution for UNRWA's Gaza Emergency Appeal to help meet urgent humanitarian needs, saying "during my visit to Gaza last year, I saw first-hand the appalling destruction caused by the 2014 conflict, and the particularly difficult impact on children. UNRWA is plating a leading role in addressing the devastation caused by the conflict and in meeting immediate humanitarian needs." This funding, together with previous funding provided, fulfilled Ireland's pledge of €2.5 million made at the International Gaza Reconstruction Conference in 2014.