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Posted On: 29 April 2009 05:43 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:09 pm

Qatar Charity to spend $22m on Gaza projects

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Qatar Charity yesterday signed agreements with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), World Food Programme (WFP) and United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to carry out projects worth $22m in Gaza, which was devastated by the recent Israeli military offensive. Qatar Charity has already undertaken works worth more than $100m as part of its Gaza reconstruction projects. The cooperation with the UN agencies will be continued and more than $40m will be put aside for this. Out of the donated amount, UNRWA will use, $7.4m for emergency job creation for the 8,824 unemployed refugees in Gaza over a period of two years. An amount of $1m will be used for cash assistance programmes to support 12,000 refugees, which can help pay for their housing rent and other basic necessities. The aim will be to support 47,000 people in the Gaza Strip. “The job creation project component will generate a total of 759,564 job days. The smaller cash assistance component will benefit 12,932 families, who will be provided with their basic food and household needs,” said Peter Ford, representative to the commissioner general, UNRWA. The UNRWA is also on a drive to find $345m for emergency requirements and so far, $175.4m has been donated to this fund. “The economic situation in Palestine has collapsed. The unemployment rate has increased more than 40 percent. Also, globally, it has one of the highest poverty rates, with 50 percent of the people living in poverty according to official rates,” he said. The Qatar Charity’s partnership with FAO will “assist in early recovery of the agricultural sector in the Gaza Strip” and will assist 800 families. “It will help vulnerable farmers to resume their irrigated horticultural productions and female-headed households and youth to improve the food security of their family through the acquisition of new skills and the development of income generating activities. The funding will also enhance coordination of the agriculture sector in the Gaza Strip through the systematic monitoring of food security needs and the humanitarian/recovery response,” said Graham Farmer from the Technical Corporation Office of FAO. “WFP is grateful to the Qatari government for this generous contribution. This vital contribution will help provide assistance to the most vulnerable in Gaza and support WFP’s innovative programmes there,” said Daly Belgasmi, WFP’s Regional Director for the Middle East, Central Asia and Eastern Europe. The funds will help implement ‘Emergency Food Assistance for Operation Lifeline Gaza’, which is assisting more than 365,000 civilians in Gaza — including 50,000 students in some 85 schools — with items such as wheat flour, cooking oil, sugar and high-energy biscuits “It will help meet urgent needs and improve food consumption for conflict-affected people through the timely provision of food rations and food vouchers and maintain enrolment of children, including internally displaced people and refugees, in assisted schools at pre-crisis levels through school feeding coverage,” he said. The WFP is also planning to start a food voucher operation in Gaza. This will enable thousands of Palestinians to access food directly from small- and medium-sized traders in Gaza. The project will improve people’s access to food; while at the same time providing a financial stimulus to the local economy. While the agreements were signed by the respective UN officials representing each agency, Ghanim bin Saad Al Saad, Board Chairman, represented Qatar Charity. As per the agreement, the UN agencies will help build the capacity of the Qatar Charity’s local office to manage and deliver programme services. This will enable Qatar Charity to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the current programmes and give feedback to the head office and donors. Further, this will enable Qatar Charity to directly and efficiently deliver assistance to Palestinians in the future. Israel’s Operation Cast Lead wrought unprecedented devastation and hardship on an already impoverished population, compounding the effects of an 18-month border closure of Gaza. It left the population overwhelmingly dependent on external humanitarian assistance to meet urgent basic needs.