Germany has pledged €25 million ($28 million) as part of a funding agreement with the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to support UNRWA's core resources to improve its role in protecting the rights of Palestinian refugees.
The funding provided today through the KfW Development Bank will also be used towards the reconstruction of the Nahr el-Bared refugee camp in Lebanon, where approximately 20,900 people are still expected to return to.
The contribution will enable almost 192 families to return to 269 residential units. Moreover, business owners will be able to reopen their shops in 31 newly reconstructed retail units.
Michael Herold, Acting Head of the German Representative Office in Ramallah, reaffirmed Germany's support to UNRWA and Palestine refugees. He said, "Germany will remain a reliable partner to UNRWA and its essential work to improve the living conditions of Palestine refugees. Supporting their dignified living conditions in Gaza remains a key priority of the German Government."
"On behalf of the Agency, I would like to express my gratitude to Germany for the generous, steadfast support over the years to UNRWA and Palestine refugees. As of today, Germany provided 56 million Euros to the reconstruction of Nahr el-Bared Camp to allow displaced families to return safely to the camp," he added.
UNRWA remains the main provider of basic services, such as health, education and camp improvements, to more than 210,000 Palestine refugees in Lebanon, including approximately 28,000 Palestinian refugees in Syria.
In the Gaza Strip, Germany's funding will provide vital sanitation support for around 244,000 Palestinian refugees in seven densely populated camps, which will benefit from improved environmental and living conditions as well as temporary employment.
Through urgently needed rehabilitation and expansion of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure, the project will contribute to improving access to safe and efficient WASH services at camp-level and help mitigate against public health risks, including the spread of diseases.
Marc Engelhardt, Director of the KfW Middle East Department, said: "KfW and UNRWA are closely cooperating on development initiatives in the region, especially in Gaza, Lebanon and Jordan. Through this, we have realised important progress regarding the reconstruction of Nahr el-Bared Camp, and we look forward to expanding our engagement for infrastructure and service improvements in the WASH and environmental health sector in Gaza, which will especially support the most vulnerable refugees."
UNRWA was created in 1949 to provide assistance and protection for the Palestinian refugees who were forced out of their homes to make way for the creation of the state of Israel.