A Palestinian woman and her children in a refugee camp in the blockaded Gaza Strip. (Photograph: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters)
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has contributed US$ 25 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) through its embassy in Jordan.
UNRWA said in a statement that the contribution is part of a larger pledge by the Kingdom to help the Agency’s maintain critical services to 5.6 million Palestine refugees in the region.
Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini, said that “at a time of regional political turmoil, pandemic and economic and financial crises, Palestine refugees will know that their rights and wellbeing are not being questioned and that Saudi Arabia stands by them.”
In Riyadh, Lazzarini reiterated the centrality of UNRWA services to the lives of Palestine refugees and called for Saudi’s continued political and financial support.
In his meetings with Senior Saudi Officials including Adel Al Jubair, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Abdullah Al Rabbeah, Supervisor General of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, Khalid Al Khudairy, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of the Saudi Fund for Development, he discussed how access to basic services such as health and education provide a sense of normality to Palestine refugees despite the turmoil around them.
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.