Middle East Monitor / December 11, 2020
India has contributed $2 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in support of its core programmes and services including education, healthcare and relief and social services.
The agency expressed its appreciation for this “generous contribution” coming at a “critical moment” when the coronavirus pandemic has put a huge strain on its operations.
With this contribution presented to the UN agency by the Representative of India to the State of Palestine, Sunil Kumar, India has provided a total of $5 million to UNRWA this year.
“On behalf of the Government of India, I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the remarkable efforts carried out by UNRWA,” he said.
“India shall continue supporting the Agency’s activities in providing vital services and necessary humanitarian aid to Palestinian refugees.”
A large portion of the funding is aimed at covering cash and food assistance to this particularly vulnerable population, as the socio-economic consequences of the public health crisis continue to weigh heavily on Palestinian refugees.
UNRWA’s funding comes almost entirely from voluntary donations made by UN member states. The agency has faced severe financial difficulties since the Trump administration stopped US aid donations altogether in 2018.
Tamara Alrifai, spokeswoman for UNRWA, said: “This generous contribution in support of Palestine refugees at this critical moment is very much appreciated. On behalf of UNRWA, I would like to thank the Government of India for its continued funding to the Agency and its backing of Palestine refugees across the Middle East.”
Earlier this year, the Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki handed Kumar a deed for a plot of land in Ramallah as a gift from the Palestinian government to India to build its temporary embassy until the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital where the embassy headquarters would be located.
In February 2018, the Palestinian government and India signed agreements for project assistance worth $41.35 million.