From left: Astrid Wein, the Austrian Representative in Ramallah and Karim Amer, UNRWA Director of Partnerships sign a contribution agreement for EUR 2 million in support of Palestine refugees. (UNRWA photo)
The Government of Austria signed on Tuesday a EUR 2 million agreement towards the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Syria Regional Crisis Emergency Appeal in 2021,
UNRWA said in a press release that through this funding, Austria will contribute to the Agency’s third round of cash assistance to Palestine refugees in Syria, including 8,212 refugees belonging to the most vulnerable categories (such as female-headed households, families headed by a person with disabilities, and families headed by an elderly or unaccompanied minors) and 13,780 belonging to other vulnerable categories.
After 10 years of conflict, Palestine refugees in Syria are confronted with severe humanitarian challenges, compounded by the rapidly deteriorating economy and inflation, as well as by the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 91 percent of Palestine refugees in Syria live below the poverty line, and the loss of purchasing power due to the economic crisis and the increase in market prices has severely impacted the ability to meet basic needs, including food.
"Austria stands close to UNRWA, our longstanding partner, to support the delivery of humanitarian assistance to Palestine refugees in need in Syria. We fully acknowledge UNRWA’s role in providing critical humanitarian services to Palestine refugees in Syria who not only have gone through a decade of conflict, but are also faced with a severe economic crisis and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. We also reiterate our firm support to the UNRWA Health Program in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) which Austria has supported through its first Multi-Year Agreement (MYA) signed in 2020," said Astrid Wein, the Austrian Representative in Ramallah.
"On behalf of the Agency, I would like to express my gratitude to Austria for its generous contribution to our emergency program in Syria. This is the third consecutive year that Austria acknowledges the increasing needs of Palestine refugees in Syria and supports UNRWA in delivering critical humanitarian services to help them meet their basic needs. UNRWA also appreciates Austria’s commitment to offering regular contributions to UNRWA, including to the Agency’s Program Budget, and through the MYA signed in 2020 in support of UNRWA’s Health Programme in the oPt," said Karim Amer, UNRWA Director of Partnerships.
In 2020, the Government of Austria signed a three-year MYA amounting to a total of EUR 5.7 million towards the Agency’s Health Program in the oPt with the aim of supporting the protection of Palestine refugees’ health, reduce disease burden, and ensuring availability of medicines and medical supplies. In 2021, Austria contributed EUR 400,000 to the UNRWA Program Budget, EUR 1.9 million to the Health Program in oPt, and EUR 2 million to the Syria Regional Crisis Appeal.