US Government Contributes $55 million to UNRWA

10 June 2009

Including $1.8 million to Reconstruct UNRWA Health Clinic in Amman New Camp

10 June 2009
East Jerusalem

On June 10, at the bi-annual meeting in Amman of the Advisory Commission (AdCom) for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, the U.S. Head of Delegation to the AdCom, Liana Brooks-Rubin, announced a U.S. Government contribution of $55.3 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)‘s General Fund, bringing the total U.S. contribution to UNRWA thus far in 2009 to $154.5 million. 

During her announcement, Brooks-Rubin commented that "The United States remains deeply concerned about the humanitarian conditions facing Palestinian refugees."  She noted that "The United States remains a strong supporter of UNRWA, the primary provider of health care, education, housing, and humanitarian assistance to 4.7 million Palestinian refugees in the Middle East, and a key factor contributing to stability in the region." ."   

Of the U.S. contribution, $1.8 million will go towards reconstructing the UNRWA health clinic in Amman New Camp (Wahadat camp). 

UNRWA Commissioner General Abu Zayd thanked the U.S. government for its $55 million contribution in response to its extraordinary appeal to donors this year, saying: "We are immensely grateful to the United States government for its generous and prompt contribution.  It is a fine example of the American commitment to supporting UNRWA and improving the daily lives of Palestine refugees throughout the region."

The American contribution to UNRWA‘s General Fund will allow the agency to deliver health, education, and relief services to 4.7 million Palestinian refugees in the region.  The $154.5 million that the U.S. has contributed to UNRWA thus far in 2009 includes $116 million for UNRWA’s General Fund supporting Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria, and $38.5 million for UNRWA’s 2009 West Bank and Gaza emergency activities.

The United States is UNRWA’s largest bilateral donor.  In 2008, the United States provided $184.7 million to UNRWA, including $99.9 million to its General Fund, and  $84.8 million to its Emergency Appeals in West Bank, Gaza, and Lebanon.

Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
Mobile: +972-(0)54-240-2659
Office: +972-(0)2-589-0267

Sami Mshasha
UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson
Mobile: +972-(0)54-216-8295
Office: +972 (0)2-589-0724

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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 more than US$ 106  million.

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