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UN Palestinian Refugee Agency: Record $500 Million

UN Palestinian Refugee Agency Receives Record $500 Million In Donations For 2004

The main United Nations agency helping Palestinian refugees received the most donations for a single year in its 55-year history in 2004 - more than $502 million - it announced today. But more is still needed for its continuing operations, including health, education, relief and social services and micro-credit programmes.

“For many years Palestine refugees have seen donations fail to keep pace with their needs for education, healthcare and social services,” UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) Commissioner-General Peter Hansen said. “This means much work is required to give them the opportunities that others in the region take for granted.

“The donations received by UNRWA in 2004 are an encouraging sign that the international community is ready to do more to help the Palestine refugees help themselves,” he added.

Following extensive consultations with donors, UNRWA is to launch a five year plan to donors next week that will require major growth in donations if the agency is to maintain high levels of human capital development. The agency also faces a challenge in helping to build stability in the Middle East in the aftermath of an Israeli disengagement from the Gaza Strip expected later this year.

Last year’s donations, although a record, were not as much as UNRWA had sought to provide for all the needs of the refugees, who are suffering from the conflict in the occupied Palestinian territory. The money was used, among other things, to provide food assistance, job creation programmes, emergency medical care and new homes for some of those whose shelters were destroyed in Israeli bulldozing operations.

The largest donors included the European Commission ($130.4 million), the United States ($127.4 million), and members of the European Union, such as the United Kingdom ($39 million), Sweden ($31.7 million), Norway ($19.6 million) and the Netherlands ($18 million).

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