RAMALLAH, Saturday, December 01, 2018 (WAFA) – The Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) head of its refugee department, Ahmad Abu Holy, welcomed on Saturday Saudi Arabia’s contribution of $63 million for projects to be implemented by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Gaza, the West Bank and Jordan.
The Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) Vice-Chairman and Managing Director Khalid Sulaiman Alkhudairy and UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl signed four agreements on Friday for the projects.
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 at 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 in the fields of operations.
Abu Holy said the additional contribution will help UNRWA maintain its vital services in its five areas of operation to nearly 5.9 million Palestinian refugees.
He expressed hope that the Saudi move will open the way for other donors to make contributions to UNRWA’s 2019 budget to make up for the US funding, which came to a total halt.
He said with this contribution, total Saudi aid to UNRWA this year has reached $160 million while its overall contributions have reached $735 million.
In 2018, UNRWA faced its largest budget shortfall since its founding. Support for donor partners like Saudi Arabia has enabled the Agency to provide vital services to Palestine refugees across the Middle East.
After signing the agreement on Friday, SFD’s Alkhudairy said: “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.”
Expressing his gratitude, Krähenbühl on the other hand said: “I am 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.”