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Belgian minister Kitir visits Baqaa camp

By JT - Sep 20,2021 - Last updated at Sep 20,2021

Belgian Minister of Development Cooperation and Major Cities Policy Meryame Kitir visits Baqaa camp on Monday (Photo courtesy of UNRWA)

AMMAN — Belgian Minister of Development Cooperation and Major Cities Policy Meryame Kitir on Monday visited the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) installations in Baqaa camp. 

Kitir was accompanied by Belgium’s Ambassador to Jordan Filip Vanden Bulcke, Chief of Staff of the Minister Anke van Lancker, Diplomatic Adviser of the Minister Bart De Wolf, Director and Deputy Director of UNRWA Affairs in Jordan Marta Lorenzo and UNRWA staff, according to an UNRWA statement.

While at the UNRWA Camp Improvement Committee office, Kitir was briefed on progress made by the government-led equitable COVID-19 vaccination campaign currently being implemented in three UNRWA health centres, including Baqaa, Zarqa and Irbid.  

During the visit at the UNRWA Baqaa Girls School, the delegation was briefed about the state of the Palestine refugee population in Jordan and recent developments in UNRWA operations across the Middle East. Special attention was paid to the vulnerabilities faced by ex-Gazan refugees and Palestine refugees from Syria, read the statement. 

In addition, the agency’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, as well as UNRWA’s priorities to better address the needs of Palestine refugees, were highlighted with a  focus on the Education in Emergencies (EiE) programme.

UNRWA adopted the EiE programme during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that Palestine refugee children can continue to benefit from their right to quality, safe and inclusive education amid crisis and conflict. 

Belgium has offered vital support to the UNRWA EiE programme since 2016. 

At the UNRWA Baqaa health centre, the delegation had the opportunity to witness firsthand UNRWA’s response to COVID-19 and was briefed on how the agency’s Health Programme ensures service continuity and abides by protective measures through investing in digitisation. 

This includes smart phone applications and telemedicine services to ensure that refugees receive quality healthcare safely, avoiding gatherings and overcrowding. 

“I am very impressed by what the many staff members of UNRWA manage to achieve here every day. They have done a great deal to enable young people to continue to benefit from education despite the coronavirus. With their efforts to vaccinate people inside the camp, they make a huge difference in the fight against this pandemic,” said Kitir.  

Lorenzo said: “We were delighted to have HE Ms Meryame Kitir visit Baqaa Camp today. The Kingdom of Belgium has always been a strong supporter to the agency by contributing to the education, health and social services to help empower Palestine refugees and advocate for their wellbeing and dignity.” 

At the end of her visit to Baqaa camp, Kitir met UNRWA Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini, who thanked her for Belgium’s strong commitment and support to UNRWA’s operations. 

The two sides discussed ways to further enhance the cooperation between Belgium and UNRWA, and strategies to ensure effective continued support to provide vital health, education, and relief services to Palestine refugees.

Belgium is amongst UNRWA’s most reliable and committed partners, supporting the agency for decades, including being a member of the UNRWA Advisory Commission since 1953. 

In 2020, Belgium was the agency’s 17th largest donor, contributing 11.25 million euros, including 6.25 million euros to the Agency Program Budget, 2.3 million euros to the Syria Regional Emergency Appeal and 2.7 million euros for projects.  


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