India pledges aid to UN relief agency for Palestinian refugees

UNITED NATIONS, Dec 7:  India today pledged USD 1.25 million to the UN relief agency for Palestinian refugees as it voiced concern over the fragile situation and ongoing conflicts in the Middle east region that is aggravating problems of refugees.
A total of 20 donors today announced contributions, or their intention to contribute, to the 2017 budget of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). India made a confirmed pledge of 1.25 million dollars in annual contribution to the agency.
First Secretary in India’s Permanent Mission to the UN Mahesh Kumar said during a meeting of the agency’s Ad Hoc Committee here on December 5 that “regrettably” an amicable solution to the Palestinian issue has not been found and as a result the refugee population’s expectation to lead a normal life is also not fulfilled.
“The current fragile situation and the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East region has compounded the problem of refugees,” he said.
Kumar noted that UNRWA, which has provided critical assistance to Palestinian refugees, is facing unprecedented financial and operational challenges. He reiterated India support for the just cause of Palestine and solidarity with the Palestinian people.
UNRWA has been providing health, education, relief and social services, and emergency humanitarian assistance to some 5.3 million Palestinian refugees across its five fields of operation — Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip — for 65 years.
In September, the agency had reported a funding gap of USD 74 million, threatening its ability to maintain vital operations through the end of 2016. After an urgent call to close the gap, UN Member States made contributions and the funding gap was now down to USD 37 million. (PTI)


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