From the Newsroom
São Paulo – Saudi Arabia has donated USD 63 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) for projects in Gaza, the West Bank and Jordan. The amount exceeds total United States donations this year, which came out to USD 60 billion – the US government has cut all funding to the United Nations agency, including USD 300 million in scheduled payments.
Four agreements have been signed this Friday (30) by Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) vice-chairman and managing director Khalid Sulaiman Alkhudairy (pictured, on the right), and UNRWA commissioner-general Pierre Krähenbühl (L).
The first agreement, for USD 31 million, will support ongoing projects in Gaza, including reconstruction of shelters, construction of new health centers and two UNRWA schools, maintenance of schools and fuel supply.
The second agreement involves USD 17 million in funds for the reconstruction and furnishing of several health centers, camp offices and schools in the West Bank, comprehensive maintenance of UNRWA premises at Jerusalem and the implementation of several other ongoing projects.
The third one, for USD 8 million, will cover maintenance for UNRWA schools and Health Centers in Jordan. The fourth one, worth USD 7 million, will provide funds for maintaining UNRWA facilities.
“We are a proud partner of UNRWA, which is doing an excellent job serving Palestine refugees. We shall continue to support UNRWA and we look forward as always to witnessing the impact of these projects on Palestine refugees, Alkhudairy was quoted as saying in a press release.
Krähenbühl, in turn, said he is “extremely grateful to the government and the people of Saudi Arabia for the sustained support that the Kingdom has extended to UNRWA over the years. The Kingdom has always been forthcoming in its support towards Palestine refugees. I would like to express particular appreciation for the role played by the Saudi Fund for Development in delivering Saudi assistance. Our partnership with the Fund is of high importance to the Agency and deeply appreciated,” the commissioner-general said.
Saudi Arabia has contributed over USD 735 million to UNRWA. This year saw the agency struggle with the worst budget shortfall since its inception in 1949, due to the cancellation of United States funding. According to the agency, the support of donor partners such as Saudi Arabia enables it to keep providing vital services to Palestine refugees across the Middle East.
Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum