Archive for December 18th, 2011

EU poverty fund extends from West Bank to Gaza

Friday 16/12/2011

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The European Union is set to make a fourth and last contribution to the Palestinian Authority’s quarterly payment of social allowances to over 66,600 households living in extreme poverty.

The contribution, a statement from the EU agency said, will be channeled through PEGASE and amounts to 12 million euros funded by the primarily through the European Commission as well as Ireland.

Eligible beneficiaries are identified in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Social Affairs, through the latter’s unified cash transfer program, as a safety net for families in extreme poverty.

Majeda Masri, minister of social affairs, said “implementation of the cash transfer program in Gaza finally came in effect a year after it was introduced and applied in the West Bank.

“This represents the first payment under the unified cash assistance program. It will reach around 95 thousand poor and marginalized households living in the occupied Palestinian territory.

“We would like to seize this occasion to thank everyone who contributed to this national achievement, especially our partners from the European Union.”

John Gatt-Rutter, the acting EU envoy, welcomed the integration of the program for Gaza, and said the same criteria are now being applied across the West Bank and Gaza to identify the poorest households.

“This unified database is a comprehensive tool in the hands of the Ministry to effectively target those most in need at a national level,” Gatt-Rutter said in the same EU statement.

“60% of the families receiving assistance come from Gaza; this is a clear indication of the prevalence of poverty in the Strip and the need to provide the people with a reliable social safety net”.

Source: Ma’an News Agency.

Brazil increases funding to UNRWA

Friday 16/12/2011

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Brazil announced a pledge of $7.5 million to UNRWA on Friday, in a move described as an unprecedented contribution from the Latin American country, Palestinian Authority media reported.

The official news agency in Ramallah, Wafa, reported that the announcement was delivered at a ceremony in Gaza between the Brazilian representative to the PA, Ligia Maria Scherer, and UNRWA chief Filippo Grandi.

“These important contributions will make Brazil one of UNRWA’s most significant donors and will help the Agency meet the rising needs of the refugee population it serves,” Wafa reported, quoting a statement.

Scherer also expressed Brazil’s concerns about the humanitarian situation in Gaza, Wafa said.

“We believe in this connection that UNRWA’s mission is essential in addressing the needs of Palestinian refugees, due to its presence on the ground and specific mandate within the UN system.

“The international acknowledgement and the local appreciation of the Agency’s work bear witness to its vital role. Strengthening UNRWA is critical to help the Palestinian people,” Scherer said.

Source: Ma’an News Agency.