The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and the International Islamic Relief Organization – Saudi Arabia (IIROSA) have signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a mutual cooperation framework to provide assistance to Palestine refugees. This agreements extends the organizations’ previous mutual cooperation in providing emergency food assistance for Palestine refugees in Gaza and Syria and supporting job creation and the supply of medical equipment in Gaza.
Welcoming this contribution, Peter Ford, Representative of the Commissioner-General of UNRWA, said: “We are very pleased to be renewing and intensifying our cooperation with IIROSA, which has a high reputation for professionalism as well as humanitarian concern. We have worked together in the past and will be delighted to breathe new life into our cooperation for the benefit of Palestine refugees who continue to suffer, especially the 2 million living under occupation and the almost half million suffering from the fallout of the Syrian conflict.”
IIROSA is a charitable organization with headquarters in Jeddah. It was created in 1979 as an affiliate of the Muslim World League. In 2008, IIROSA contributed US$ 1 million to UNRWA for job creation in Gaza, allowing the Agency to create over 1,000 short-term jobs. During the armed conflict in Gaza from December 2008 to January 2009, IIROSA also funded the purchase of 50 generators, most of which were given to schools.
UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.
Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 65 million.