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Brussels, 16 February 2001

European Commission grants € 13.8 million to provide food and cash assistance to Palestinian refugees

The European Commission signed a convention yesterday granting the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA) in Gaza 13.8 million Euro for the provision of food aid and cash contributions to over 200 000 most deprived Palestinian refugees. The assistance - in the form of cash and food products - is specifically targeted at "special hardship cases" within the Palestinian refugee population living in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and Gaza.

Over a one year period, UNWRA hopes to distribute 1840 tonnes of vegetable oil, 3750 tonnes of sugar, 1225 tonnes of whole milk powder, 40 tonnes of pulses and 15 tonnes of olive oil. Its plan is to provide the most needy Palestinian refugees with a daily diet of 1600 calories for one year.

Refugees living in extreme conditions of poverty will also receive direct cash contributions to supplement their income and thus add other requirements to their food basket. A total of 8.7 Million Euro will be distributed this way alone.

Pregnant women, nursing mothers, infants, tuberculosis patients and families whose incomes are affected by the illness, handicap or death of a parent constitute the particular focus of this initiative.

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