Washington- The United Nations agency in charge of helping Palestinian refugees has begun transferring ownership of new homes to refugees from the Rafah camp, completing the last stage of a five-part plan to aid those Palestinians who have been displaced or affected by the violence that began in September 2000.
The U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) handed over 109 new homes to 116 Palestinian refugee families Monday-a small but significant contribution toward helping the 30,000 Palestinians whose homes were destroyed in clashes.
"These homes are the visible expression of UNRWA”s pledge to provide shelter for all these refugees made homeless by the conflict," the agency said in a statement.
The overall project has provided a total of 431 new homes, and this last phase was funded by donations from Spain, Ireland and the UNRWA”s general emergency fund for a total cost of $2.2 million.
Plans for an additional 1,210 funded shelters for 1,285 families are currently underway in Rafah, but UNRWA still needs some $28 million to cover the costs. UNRWA Commissioner General Karen Koning AbuZayd has called upon the international donor community to support this new building program.
UNRWA plans include a major improvement of the refugee camps, major infrastructure development projects, and expanding job creation and supporting small businesses.
"These projects are aimed at making the refugees feel a tangible difference in their lives, which should help to put the peace process in the region back on the right track," AbuZayd said.