Belgium donates €18.75m to UN agency helping Palestinian refugees

GMT 23:58 2015 Wednesday ,20 May

Arab Today, arab today Belgium donates €18.75m to UN agency helping Palestinian refugees

Palestinian refugees
Brussels - XINHUA

The Belgian government has released 18.75 million euros (20.80 million U.S. dollars) for UNRWA, the United Nations agency responsible for the aiding of Palestinian refugees, local media reported Wednesday.

The money applies to the 2015-2017 period and will assist the organization in health care, teaching, relief and social services.

This is the first multi-year contribution from Belgium to UNWRA.

"We are deeply grateful to Belgium, a longstanding partner of UNRWA, for the contribution. In an extremely challenging environment, it will allow us to continue providing core human development and emergency relief to vulnerable Palestine refugees," UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Kraehenbuehl said in a statement.

"Such support allows us to keep our schools open and hospitals running for communities who may otherwise find themselves unable to access these essential services," Kraehenbuehl added.

Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Co-operation Alexander De Croo said that Belgium makes part of its aid budget available to organizations such as the UNRWA that are not specifically aimed at any humanitarian crisis in particular.

"This approach gives organizations a degree of predictability in their access to funds and the flexibility to provide immediate response to humanitarian needs and emergencies," he said.

UNWRA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, was established in 1949 to provide assistance to the 5 million registered Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Belgium has been a member of its advisory commission since 1953.

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