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Japan Special Coordinator for Syria, Chargé d'Affaires of the Embassy of Japan in Syria visits UNRWA installations in Alliance Neighbourhood in Damascus
On 10 October, the Special Coordinator for Syria, the Chargé d'Affaires of the Embassy of Japan in Syria, Mr. Futoshi Matsumoto, visited UNRWA installations in the Alliance neighborhood in Damascus, accompanied by the First-Secretary, Mr. Hiroki Miyoshi, and the Second-Secretary, Mr. Kenichi Sugimoto.
Welcoming Mr. Matsumoto, UNRWA Officer-in-Charge in Syria, Ram Trivedi expressed the Agency’s deepest appreciation for Japan’s continued support for Palestine refugees. “Japan has long been a highly valued UNRWA donor and partner. The Government of Japan was among the ten largest donors to the Agency in 2018. Without the contributions of Japan, we would not have been able to run our programmes,” Mr. Trivedi said. He stressed critical financial situation of UNRWA, which continues to depend on the generosity of donors such as Japan.
The tour of Alliance included visits to the UNRWA Palestine Girls’ School for Basic Education, the health and distribution centres and the family support office.
In Palestine school, Mr. Matsumoto listened to a briefing on the UNRWA education programme and the education-in-emergency activities. He also met with students who shared their life experiences and future aspirations. He was impressed by their resilience and perseverance and encouraged them to study hard and complete their education.
In the health centre, he was briefed on the e-Health approach, an electronic management system for patient files, which was introduced in the clinics, with the generous support of the Government of Japan to facilitate doctors’ access to medical information, including test results.
In the distribution centre, he was briefed on the UNRWA emergency targeted cash and food assistance and the importance of such assistance in the lives of Palestine refugees.
Mr. Matsumoto, also visited the family support office in Alliance and received a briefing on services provided through it. UNRWA Family Support Offices (FSO) provide Palestine refugees with assistance addressing protection issues. Among the services provided is legal aid for refugees who were not able to update their legal and official status records with government institutions due to conflict-related reasons, including living in hard-to-reach and besieged areas for months or years, These mainly include cases of undocumented marriages, divorces, deaths and births.
Thanking UNRWA for organizing this visit, Mr. Matsumoto underlined Japan’s solidarity with Palestine refugees through its support to UNRWA, “Japan has been a keen supporter of UNRWA. Japan’s assistance to Palestine refugees in Syria in 2019 through UNRWA has reached around US$ 6.2 million. I am happy to see today the progress and achievements it has made. Japan is committed to supporting UNRWA in fulfilling its important role in providing essential services to Palestine refugees.” He underlined the strong will of Japan to continuously support Palestine refugees wherever they are.
UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA programme budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s programme budget.
UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals. UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.
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