IICO Provides a Lifeline to Palestine Refugees in Gaza


Palestine refugees in the Gaza Strip who rely on health services from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) will soon benefit from much-needed medical equipment thanks to a generous contribution from the International Islamic Charity Organization (IICO).

The IICO contribution of more than US$ 500,000 will provide maternal and child health-care equipment, including ultrasound machines, echo-dopplers and fetal heart detectors to the Agency’s 22 health-care centres operating in the Gaza Strip. The contribution comes as the Agency struggles to fulfil its mandate to provide critical services amidst a historic funding shortfall that has left 5.7 million Palestine refugees at risk.

UNRWA health-care centres in the Gaza Strip register some four million patient consultations each year. The COVID-19 pandemic, combined with 14-years of stifling blockade, has devastated the local economy, fuelling a 49 per cent unemployment rate as of the third quarter of 2020, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics.

UNRWA has delivered effective and reliable humanitarian support to Palestine refugees for 70 years. The Agency’s services include free health care and education, food and cash assistance and microcredit loans to 5.7 million Palestine refugees facing extreme hardship in Jordan, the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Last month, the Agency announced its ongoing and historic funding shortfall could jeopardize its ability to provide critical relief and development services in all five fields of operation.

The IICO is an independent, multi-faceted charity that provides funding to support strategic and sustainable development projects worldwide. The organization, based in Kuwait, aims to alleviate the devastating impact of poverty, disease, illiteracy and unemployment in underprivileged communities across the globe.

Background Information:

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA programme budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s programme budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.7 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.

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