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Saudi Arabia contributes total of $63 million to UNRWA

Nov. 30, 2018 11:37 A.M. (Updated: Dec. 1, 2018 4:35 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Saudi Arabia, through the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD), contributed a total of $63 million for projects to be implemented in the besieged Gaza Strip, the occupied West Bank and Jordan, according to a statement by United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) on Friday.

Four agreements were signed by the SFD Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Khalid Sulaiman al-Khudairi, and the Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Pierre Krahenbuhl.

The first agreement, valued at $31 million, will support ongoing projects, including the reconstruction of shelters, construction of new health centers and two UNRWA schools, maintenance of schools and fuel supply in Gaza.

The second agreement, valued at $ 17 million, will assist UNRWA in the reconstruction and furnishing of several health centers, camp offices and schools in the West Bank, comprehensive maintenance of UNRWA premises in East-Jerusalem and the implementation of several other ongoing projects.

The third agreement, valued at $ 8 million, will provide funds for comprehensive maintenance for UNRWA schools and Health Centers in Jordan. While the fourth agreement valued at $ 7 million, will provide funds for maintaining UNRWA facilities across all its fields of operations.

Al-Khudairi said, "We shall continue to support UNRWA and we look forward as always to witnessing the impact of these projects on Palestine refugees."

Krahenbuhl expressed his gratitude by saying, "I would like to express particular appreciation for the role played by the Saudi Fund for Development and recognition for the trust it places in the Agency. Our partnership with the Fund is of high importance and deeply appreciated."

UNRWA's financial crisis followed the United States Trump administration's decision to end all funds to the agency, resulting in a $217 million budget deficit, after more than seven decades of the US being the agency's largest donor with about $360 million per year.

Due to the support and determination of donor countries, in addition to Saudi Arabia’s latest contribution, the budget deficit was reduced to $1 million.

UNRWA provides services to some 5.4 million Palestinian refugees registered with the agency across its five fields of operation, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Its services include education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.

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