India donates USD 1 mln to Palestinian refugees

Ramallah (West Bank): Reaffirming its firm support to the Palestinian cause, India has donated USD one million to UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to provide daily supplement of food to thousands of Palestinian children in camps in Gaza Strip.

Minister of State for External Affairs and Human Resources Development E Ahamed handed over a cheque of USD one million to UNRWA Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi here last evening.

Ahamed told Grandi that the cheque is India`s annual contribution for the year 2011-12 to be utilised for "providing daily supplement of food assistance to more than 76,000 students attending UNRWA schools in Gaza for 50 school days under the agency`s Emergency Programme in Gaza strip".

The Indian minister assured the UNRWA official of New Delhi`s continued support in its operations and in its efforts to alleviate the sufferings of Palestinian refugees.

UNRWA is the main provider of basic services, education, health, relief and social services, to five million registered Palestinian refugees in the Middle East.

India has been contributing annually to the UN welfare agency`s budget and since 2009-10 enhanced its annual contribution to USD one million.

It also made a special contribution of USD one million in response to a flash appeal by UNRWA in 2010 to keep its operations alive in the aftermath of massive destruction following the Gaza war.

Ahamed, who is here on a two-day visit to the Palestinian territories, will also participate in the inauguration of the India-Brazil-South Africa Multipurpose Sports Centre that was constructed in Ramallah with the funding of IBSA Forum.

The IBSA Sports Centre is the first project completed by IBSA funding to be donated as a gift from people of IBSA countries to the people of Palestine. This also happens to be the first IBSA project in the entire Middle East.

The grouping is also supporting the rehabilitation of the "Al Quds Hospital" in Gaza and the construction of a "Centre for People with Special Needs" in Nablus in the West Bank.

The Indian Minister is also scheduled to meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Foreign Minister Riyad Malki later today.

On his arrival, he offered Friday Prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and met Sheikh Abdul Azeem Salhab, President of Islamic Endowment Council.