BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Japan signed two grants on Sunday to fund projects in the Gaza Strip worth almost $220,000 combined, the Representative Office of Japan to the Palestinian Authority said in a statement.

One of the grants signed by Takeshi Okubo, the Japanese representative to the PA, allocates $128,426 to the Palestinian Environmental Friends (PEF) association to improve water quality in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

The project would impact 10,000 residents’ access to drinking water, the statement read, notably through the installation of a desalination plant.

The other grant, worth $90,909, is to benefit the blood laboratory in Gaza City’s al-Shifa Hospital, the statement read.

Okubo emphasized Japan’s “firm commitment to enhancing the human security of Palestinians,” the statement said, adding that Japan supported “socio-economic developmental projects that will lead to the empowerment of the Palestinian communities in the Gaza Strip.”

Earlier this month, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visited Japan, his fourth diplomatic visit to the country since 2005.

According to the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the country has provided more than $1.6 billion in assistance to the Palestinians since 1993.

Residents of the beleaguered Gaza Strip rely heavily on donor aid for their survival, but in recent years, many donors have fallen far short of their pledges.

In September last year, the World Bank said that only a third of donor aid pledged to Gaza in the aftermath of 2014’s devastating war had been dispersed — $881 million less than was promised.

The United Nations has warned that unless current trends are altered, Gaza could become uninhabitable for residents in just five years.

“The social, health and security-related ramifications of the high population density and overcrowding are among the factors that may render Gaza unlivable by 2020,” the UN’s development agency said last year.