Saudi Arabia has donated $86 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) for projects in the West Bank, Lebanon and Gaza, an UNRWA press release said Wednesday. The donation was made through the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD).
SFD Vice-Chairman and Managing Director Yousef Al-Bassam and UNRWA’s Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi signed in Riyadh three agreements to that effect.
The first agreement worth $14 million is for five projects in the West Bank, including the reconstruction and equipping of Hebron Health Centre, Arroub Boys School, Ein Sultan School, Balata Boys School, and the reconstruction and rehabilitation of 930 housing units.
The second agreement worth $54.5 million represents one of Saudi Arabia’s contributions to the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) Program for the Reconstruction of Gaza, which covers the reconstruction and rehabilitation of more than 1,000 housing units and the construction, equipping and furnishing of six schools.
The third and final agreement worth $17.5 million includes $7.5 million to improve the living conditions in Ein el-Hilweh Camp, South Lebanon, and $10 million towards the reconstruction of Nahr el-Bared Camp in North Lebanon, which will raise the total donation of Saudi Arabia for Nahr el Bared to $35 million.
“Each of these agreements is valuable,” said Grandi while accepting the contributions.
“It is well known that the infrastructure of our refugee camps in the West Bank needs attention. This is more true of camps in Lebanon like Ein el-Hilweh. It is also clear that the huge Nahr el-Bared camp rebuilding project desperately needs more funding, and that Gaza has multiple needs as it continues to face a blockade which paralyses most of its economic activity,” he added.
Saudi Arabia, through the SFD, is one of UNRWA’s major donors and the foremost Arab donor. Projects funded by Saudi Arabia have included contributions to the reconstruction of Nahr el-Bared refugee camp in Lebanon, support to UNRWA core activities in health, education and relief and social services, as well as the flagship Saudi project to re-house Palestine refugees in Rafah, phase I of which was inaugurated in February this year.