United Methodist Committee on Relief donates US$ 50,000 for food assistance in Syria

05 January 2015
Yarmouk residents gathered to await a food distribution from UNRWA in January 2014. © UNRWA Archives

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) provided a US$ 50,000 grant to UNRWA through American Friends of UNRWA (UNRWA USA) in July 2014, contributing to the critical UNRWA food assistance programme for Palestine refugees in Syria. With this funding, UNRWA was able to provide parcels containing 10 days of food for 922 families (over 3,600 individuals) trapped in the besieged area of Yarmouk, Damascus.

UNRWA and UNRWA USA thank UMCOR for this grant. “As the need for emergency humanitarian aid in Syria continues to increase, we are grateful for the generous UMCOR donation, which helps vulnerable communities in Yarmouk.  We look forward to continuing this partnership beyond the current crisis to ensure Palestine refugees in Syria continue to receive the support they need,” said Abby Smardon, Executive Director of UNRWA USA.

After four years of conflict, the Palestine refugee community in Syria is extremely vulnerable. Of the 560,000 registered Palestine refugees in Syria, 280,000 have been internally displaced and 460,000 will require continued humanitarian assistance in 2015. The UNRWA food assistance programme, alongside cash assistance, is a critical intervention that helps ensure Palestine refugees meet their daily minimum food needs and bolster their resilience.

The situation for civilians trapped in Yarmouk remains extremely grave. More  than 18,000 Palestine refugees have been trapped in the area for over a year and a half, with limited access to food, water, and medical supplies. UNRWA is deeply concerned about the desperate humanitarian situation and continues to appeal to all parties to do everything in their power to end the suffering of civilians. The Agency continues to seek from all sides conditions that enable UNRWA to offer a full range of humanitarian assistance and services inside Yarmouk on a continuous, substantial and safe basis.

Background information on UMCOR

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to alleviating human suffering around the globe. UMCOR’s work reaches people in more than 80 countries, including the United States of America.  UMCOR provides humanitarian relief when war, conflict, or natural disaster disrupt life to such an extent that communities are unable to recover on their own.

Background information on American Friends of UNRWA

UNRWA USA is an independent non-profit 501 (c)3 organization that provides support for UNRWA’s humanitarian work through advocacy, fundraising, and education. UNRWA USA aims to educate the general American public about the situation of Palestine refugees and generate support for UNRWA programs in the West Bank, Gaza, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan.

Background Information

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA Programme Budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s Programme Budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.

For more information, please contact:

Abby Smardon
Executive Director, American Friends of UNRWA
(+1) 202-223-3767
(+1) 202-223-3767