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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

UAE donates $2m towards UN efforts in Gaza 

The money will be used to supply hospitals in Gaza with electricity

Palestinian children hold bread patties during a protest against aid cuts, outside the United Nations' offices in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on January 28. UNRWA. / AFP / Said Khatib
Palestinian children hold bread patties during a protest against aid cuts, outside the United Nations' offices in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on January 28. UNRWA. / AFP / Said Khatib

The UAE has donated $2 million (Dh7.3m) towards a UN programme that supplies electricity to hospitals across the Gaza strip.

The donation came following directives from Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, in a bid to tackle the reduced electricity supply to hospitals in the territory of two million that has been under Israeli siege for the past 10 years.

Last year, a UN report described the power blackouts in Gaza as a humanitarian crisis caused by politics. Some hospitals use generators as back-ups but the system is not infallible.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, made the donation announcement during his meeting on Wednesday with Nickolay Mladenov, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, who is currently visiting the UAE.

Sheikh Abdullah affirmed the UAE's support for the UN's peace efforts in the Middle East and the country's determination to strengthen its partnerships with world agencies concerned with ensuring comprehensive and sustainable development for different world countries and peoples.

The donation comes more than a month after US president Donald Trump threatened to cease funding to Palestine.

On January 29, UNRWA employees in Gaza led a 13,000-strong demonstration protesting the US decision to cut its annual contribution towards the running of the agency.

The United Nations' Relief and Welfare Agency is funded mainly by voluntary contributions from UN member states, with the US by far the largest donor. Washington announced on January 16 it would hold back US$65 million (Dh238.7m) — more than half its planned contribution for this year — demanding that the agency make unspecified reforms.

UNRWA operates 278 schools in Gaza attended by some 300,000 pupils.