The European Union has donated 500,000 euros in humanitarian aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in order to raise the level of measures related to hygiene and environmental health. This vital grant will support the Agency’s efforts to contain the Coronavirus pandemic in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

(UNRWA) said: Thanks to this generous support, it will be able to provide much-needed hygiene supplies to Palestine refugee families who are subject to quarantine, with the aim of controlling the spread of the virus. This humanitarian aid provided by the European Union will improve services related to environmental health for refugees living in camps, as well as provide hygiene materials and supplies needed by families suffering from difficult economic conditions, especially in areas that have recorded an increase in cases of Coronavirus.

Gwen Lewis, Director of UNRWA Operations in the West Bank noted: “We are very grateful for the humanitarian support provided by the European Union, as there are many Palestine refugees in home quarantine who are struggling to meet their most basic needs. Providing basic hygiene items ensures that families have access. “It provides for what they need at home to protect themselves, and relieve the economic burden they face, which means that they can bear the difficulties of staying at home.”                 

Palestine refugee camps have witnessed an increase in the amount of waste generated by the recent closures imposed by the local authorities, creating an additional burden on the shoulders of UNRWA environmental health workers. This grant will allow the Agency to hire additional workers it needs to keep the camps clean and Palestine refugees safe.

(UNRWA) continued to provide water and environmental health services to Palestine refugees throughout the pandemic period, and UNRWA also worked to ensure the sterilization of the camps most affected by the virus. This included the periodic collection of solid waste and its sterilization in the areas where it collects, as well as sterilizing the Agency’s facilities, especially health centers