Gaza – 11 April 2018 – As part of their continuous efforts to support the Palestinian people, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP/PAPP) signed today a new agreement with the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) for an additional USD 10 million to cover house reconstruction and rehabilitation works in the Gaza Strip. This second amendment brings the total SFD contribution to USD 61.5 million, benefiting approximately 12,930 families. The ceremony was attended by Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza, Mr Matthias Schmale, and UNDP Special Representative of the Administrator Mr Roberto Valent.
H.E. Mofeed Al-Hasayneh, Minister of Public Works and Housing, thanked the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its people, and the Saudi Fund for Development for their generous support to the Palestinian people, and Gaza specifically. “This contribution comes at a critical time for the Gaza population. We, at the Ministry, will make all possible efforts for the reconstruction of what was destroyed during the recent war and strengthen the steadfastness of the Palestinian people in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Jerusalem,” he added.
The new contribution will cover the rehabilitation and reconstruction of more than 200 totally damaged houses for Palestinian non-refugees. So far, around 11,913 partial, 389 severe and 282 totally damaged homes were rebuilt with support from the Government of Saudi Arabia through the Saudi Fund for Development, in addition to the rehabilitation and furnishing of five playgrounds, one cultural centre and three non-governmental school.
UNRWA will administer the grant and be involved in monitoring of the project, advising on construction based on its vast experience in the Gaza Strip.
“UNRWA is grateful for the on-going partnership with the Saudi Fund for Development and UNDP which enables important infrastructure projects for the population in the Gaza Strip. This latest generous contribution from SFD will improve the living conditions of Palestinians, who were affected in the 2014 hostilities,” said the Director of UNRWA Operations, Gaza Matthias Schmale.
As part of the agreement, UNDP will make available its technical resources to implement the project activities. The self-help modality will be used during the project, where families will be provided with support to rebuild their homes and indirectly improve their livelihoods. The programme will prioritize female-headed households and will take into consideration family size and current socio-economic status of targeted population.
“This agreement is another example of the joints efforts made by UNDP and UNRWA to support the recovery process and resilience of the Gaza population,” said Roberto Valent, UNDP Special Representative of the Administrator. “Around 1200 non-refugee families are still left without a house. Urgent support is still needed for the reconstruction of totally damaged housing units so that families can get back to their homes”.
It is worth noting that the 51-day hostilities resulted in the destruction of over 18,000 housing units, leaving approximately 100,000 people homeless. UNDP, in cooperation with the Ministry of Public Works and Housing and the Palestinian Contractors Union, conducted a damage assessment targeting the non-refugee population. The results of the assessment indicate that 31,297 non-refugee housing units were damaged. 3,452 housing units sustained total damage, while 1,509 were severely damaged and 26,336 were partially damaged. UNRWA conducted the same assessment amongst the refugee population. The UNRWA shelter assessment confirmed 142,071 Palestine refugee houses as impacted during the 2014 conflict; 9,117 of them were considered totally destroyed. Around 5,417 shelters suffered severe, 3,700 major and 123,837 minor damages.