US contributes USD 1.22 million to support UNRWA assistance to Palestinian Refugees from Iraq

23 August 2009

23 August 2009

Damascus

The United States Government has contributed US$957,000 toward the Agency‘s cash assistance programme for Palestinian Iraqi refugees in Damascus, and US$266,000 to complete the reconstruction of the UNRWA Community Development Centre in Yarmouk Camp.

Receiving the generous donation, Dr. Stefania Pace-Shanklin, Acting Deputy Director of UNRWA Affairs in Syria, expressed UNRWA’s gratitude. She said, "The U.S. Government is a long-standing supporter of UNRWA and this contribution is further evidence of their commitment to enhancing the human development of Palestinian refugees in Syria. This on-going partnership between UNRWA and the United States enables us to continue investing in projects that improve the lives of Palestine refugees".

The community development centre will cater for 135,700 Palestine refugees, including the most vulnerable groups such as women, the disabled, and Palestinian refugees from Iraq. The centre, supervised by a team of committed volunteers, will focus its energy on providing training to job seekers, implementing income-generation projects, and supporting initiatives targeting the well-being of young people. The cash assistance component will allow UNRWA to continue its relief programme for 2010-2011 that targets the poorest Palestinian Iraqi families. The programme started in November 2007 with funding from UNHCR.

The United States is UNRWA‘s largest bilateral donor. So far in 2009, the U.S. Government has provided US$186 million to UNRWA‘s programmes in the region.

For information only           Not an official record

For further information, please contact:
Hala Mukhles
Office: 6133035 ext 314
Mobile: 0940888103
 

Background Information

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

Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 56 million.

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