Minister Lenihan announces emergency funding of €1 million to meet crisis needs in Lebanon and Palestine
Conor Lenihan, T.D., Minister of State for Development Cooperation and Human Rights, today announced that the Government is to provide €1 million in relief assistance for Lebanon and Palestine to meet the growing humanitarian needs as a result of the current crisis.
An immediate sum of €500,000 in humanitarian relief will be made available for Lebanon and €500,000 in emergency humanitarian support will be provided for Palestine.
The Minister stated “Ireland shares a strong sense of solidarity with Lebanon and its people, not least as a result of our long history of involvement with the UNIFIL peacekeeping force. We are also very concerned at the serious humanitarian situation in Gaza and the Occupied Territories. The Government has called for an end to the violence in and from Lebanon, Israel and Palestine and is extremely concerned at the large number of civilian casualties and the continued destruction of essential infrastructure. We will continue to exert our influence directly with the parties and within the EU and at the UN to end the crisis and encourage a return to political negotiation.”
“The humanitarian impact of the crisis on the people of Lebanon and Palestine is a matter of deep concern to me. Already, over 400,000 Lebanese people have been displaced from their homes. I want to respond immediately to enable our partner organisations to implement their emergency response on the ground. We have been staying in close contact with our key partners – the Government of Lebanon, UN Agencies, the Red Cross and NGOs - to identify their priority needs.”
“The current crisis has worsened the already severe humanitarian crisis in Palestine. 1.5 million Palestinians are living under effective siege in desperate conditions in Gaza. Today I am stepping up our assistance to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the key humanitarian agency operating in Palestine, by providing €500,000 in humanitarian funding specifically for Gaza. This new funding will bring to €2 million the assistance provided by Ireland so far this year in support of UNRWA's vital role in providing basic services to people in Palestine.”
Note for editors:
The funding announced today will be provided to UN Agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the Non-Governmental Organisations, which are assisting the displaced populations with emergency shelter and basic needs.
Ireland has a long term programme of development and humanitarian assistance in Palestine. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is a key humanitarian partner for Irish Aid in Palestine. UNRWA is involved in the delivery of basic and humanitarian services for refugees, including education, health and social services. UNRWA has been particularly active in addressing the basic needs arising from the current humanitarian crisis. Ireland is a strong supporter of UNRWA's work which is a key component of Irish Aid support for Palestine. Today's funding announcement will bring to €2 million the support provided by Ireland to UNRWA this year. Ireland's support in development and humanitarian programme in Palestine this year will be in excess of €4 million.
21 July 2006