There are nearly 8 million Palestine refugees worldwide. (File photo)
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) welcomed last week a German delegation from the German Representative Office in Ramallah to Gaza.
Meeting with Jenifer Austin, Deputy Director of UNRWA Affairs in Gaza, the delegation visited Al Amal Elementary Girls School, in Khan Younis Area, as well as several reconstruction projects funded from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through KfW Development Bank. The visit concluded with a tour and inauguration of the new Relief and Social Services (RSS) office in Gaza City.
Oliver Owcza, Head of the German Representative Office in Ramallah, said: “With three new funding agreements, Germany continues its solidarity with, and long-standing commitment to improving the living conditions, for Palestine refugees in the region, especially in the crisis affected contexts of Lebanon and Gaza.”
During the visit, the delegation spoke with students, teachers, as well as Palestine refugees who have benefited from the delivery of these projects, including meeting refugee families whose lives have been transformed by their move from dilapidated shelters in overcrowded areas of Khan Younis Camp to nearby newly constructed multi-story buildings as part of camp improvement interventions, as well as some of the 131,000 Palestine refugees who can now benefit from the new custom-built Relief and Social Services (RSS) office, where UNRWA services support some of the most vulnerable in the community, particularly women, children, people with disabilities, and the elderly.
UNRWA Director of Partnerships, Karim Amer, said, “We express our sincere gratitude to Germany for their continued strong partnership as exemplified by the level of support extended in 2022. These new agreements focus on supporting Palestine refugees with infrastructure projects, shelter rehabilitation and cash for work programmes across Gaza and Lebanon. This brings tangible benefits to people’s lives and the well-being of vulnerable individuals in communities facing unprecedently difficult conditions.”
The visit to Gaza was followed by the signing of three new funding agreements between UNRWA and KfW as implementing partner for German development cooperation totaling EUR 31 million in support of Palestine refugees in Gaza and Lebanon.
In Lebanon, the additional German support includes further funding towards the reconstruction of Nahr el-Bared refugee camp which will allow 170 displaced families to return to new residential units in the camp and the reconstruction of 28 retail units, creating 600 temporary jobs in the process.
The second agreement will contribute to the generation of some 5,800 short-term employment opportunities for Palestine refugees in Lebanon through the rehabilitation of UNRWA facilities, sanitation works, with a particular focus on 3,300 youth and young adults.
The final agreement signed supports comprehensive shelter rehabilitation interventions and temporary accommodation solutions for approximately 225 vulnerable refugee families in Gaza, as well as the implementation of a shelter needs assessment and management system to inform future programming.
In total, financial support from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) via KfW to UNRWA stands at EUR 95 million in 2022.