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Thursday, September 4, 2014
PRESS RELEASE: UNRWA and Coalition of Muslim Relief Organizations Sign Cooperative Agreement for Work in Gaza

The first stage is to work on the emergency response and to ensure families
are fed, provided with clean water, and have access to essential healthcare.
Once this is done, we will look to work on reconstruction projects that will
enable Gaza to get back on its feet
PRESS RELEASE
UNRWA and Coalition of Muslim Relief Organizations Sign Cooperative
Agreement for Work in Gaza

04 September 2014
Washington, DC

Five Muslim relief organisations working in a coalition to support the
recovery of the Gaza Strip are contributing US$ 500,000 to UNRWA for
humanitarian assistance. The agreement was signed by Islamic Help CEO Saif
Ahmad, United Muslim Relief president and CEO Dr. Abed Ayoub, Baitulmaal
Executive Director Suleiman Alghanem, Life for Relief and Development CEO
Abdallah Boumediene, and Talat Shaikh from the Muslim Community and
Education Centre.

This generous donation from the Muslim relief coalition for Gaza is a timely
response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis that has resulted from 50 days
of conflict in Gaza.

UNRWA Representative Office director Matthew Reynolds said, “UNRWA is so
grateful for this generous donation, not only because it will allow us to
continue our crucial work on the ground, but also because of the impact it
will make on every refugee and internally displaced person seeking shelter
in our facilities today. This contribution is a beacon of hope in the midst
of a warzone, and we sincerely hope this is the beginning of an enthusiastic
partnership.”

The 2014 Israel-Gaza Conflict has exacerbated an already dire humanitarian
situation. Almost 60,000 people in Gaza are still sheltered in UNRWA schools
and almost 100 per cent of the population is turning to the United Nations
for food rations. With nearly 41 per cent unemployment even before the
current conflict, the economy is in shambles. This donation will be used to
provide food assistance, non-food items such as fuel, and psychosocial
support for children in the Gaza Strip. In the current circumstances, the
contribution from the coalition of Muslim relief organisations provides much
needed assistance to the UNRWA humanitarian response.

Muslim relief coalition for Gaza spokesperson Oussama Mezoui said, “In
working together with UNRWA, which has a proven track record in Gaza, we can
ensure that essential aid is getting to those most in need. The first stage
is to work on the emergency response and to ensure families are fed,
provided with clean water, and have access to essential healthcare. Once
this is done, we will look to work on reconstruction projects that will
enable Gaza to get back on its feet.”

– Ends –

Background information

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949
and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some
five million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine
refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve
their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their
plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social
services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for
services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need,
and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF),
supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary
contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently
the deficit stands at US$ 70.5 million.

Baitulmaal, on behalf of our generous donors, institutes compassionate
projects worldwide to improve the lives of disaster victims, underprivileged
children, the sick, elderly, orphans, widows, and needy families, regardless
of nationality, race, or religion. Our activities are based on the
principles of Islamic teachings, which stress the dignity and sanctity of
human life. Our goal is to restore dignity and instill hope in communities
hit hard by poverty and disaster. We accomplish this in two ways: 1) through
short-term emergency disaster relief in the form of food, medical supplies,
clothing, and shelter, and 2) through the long-term distribution of basic
necessities, and through the repair of social infrastructure by building and
supporting family housing, orphanages, and healthcare facilities.

Islamic Help is a UK registered charity (charity number 1100259) and
international NGO established in 2003 by a group of young people determined
to make a difference to the lives of those afflicted by poverty and
suffering. IH’s vision is to create a world free from poverty based on
principles of justice and equality and its mission is to help and empower
the poor and needy through building their confidence and independence. IH is
a rapidly growing NGO that has operated in over 20 countries. IH currently
has field offices in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Yemen, Jordan, Sudan and
Tanzania. We also have fundraising offices in Australia and France.

Life for Relief and Development is a nonprofit organization deeply rooted in
the belief that saving lives should be a priority of all mankind. For this
reason, we are dedicated to alleviating human suffering regardless of race,
color, religion, or cultural background. Life works to provide assistance to
people across the globe by offering humanitarian services such as health
care and education, as well as catering to casualties of social and economic
turmoil, victims of hunger, natural disasters, war, and other catastrophes.

Muslim Community and Education Centre is a British non-profit Charity Trust.
The Trust's primary aim is to provide a place of worship, educational and
social facilities for the local Muslim community. The Trust also aims to
provide a range of culturally sensitive services for the wider communities
of North London, drawing upon our Islamic values, with a view to improving
quality of life and enhancing community cohesion. This vision extends to our
international work where we work with partners to improve the lives of those
suffering from poverty and humanitarian disasters.

United Muslim Relief is a registered 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization in
the USA. The organization was launched by students at George Mason
University in Fairfax, Virginia as a response to the 2010 earthquake in
Haiti. UMR is quickly turning into one of the largest grassroots American
Muslim organizations with new university chapters launching monthly. UMR’s
vision is to be a world leader in uniting partner organizations’ relief and
development services to assist underserved communities in achieving the
dignity of self-sustenance.

For more information, please contact:

Chris McGrath
UNRWA Representative Office
Washington D.C.
Phone: +1 (202) 974-3528
c.mcgrath@unrwa.org

Dr. Abed Ayoub
United Muslim Relief
Phone: +1 (202) 370-6963

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