USA Responds to UNRWA Syria Appeal

27 January 2014
UNRWA health centre Jaramana - Taghrid Mohammad UNRWA Archives

East Jerusalem

At the Second International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria, in Kuwait City, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) received a generous contribution of US$ 28.1 million from the United States of America. This voluntary contribution by the United States will support the Agency's emergency efforts on behalf of Palestine refugees affected by the ongoing conflict in Syria at a time when such support is critically needed. As the largest bilateral donor to UNRWA, the United States has helped ensure that Palestine refugees affected by the conflict receive lifesaving assistance, including access to clean water, medicine, food and other critical needs. The United States has contributed more than US$ 100 million to UNRWA emergency appeals for Syria since the start of the crisis, and provided over US$ 294 million to support the Agency in 2013. 

UNRWA Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi thanked the US for its support. Noting the Agency's recently issued Syria Regional Crisis Response Plan for 2014, he said: "The conflict in Syria is nearly 3 years old now. It has been truly devastating for Palestine refugees there - almost all of them are now in need of assistance. The emergency assistance that we work to provide them would be impossible without support like that offered today by the United States."

Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration Anne C. Richard said: "Innocent civilians affected by the crisis in Syria deserve to receive lifesaving humanitarian aid. This contribution by the United States to UNRWA demonstrates the steadfast commitment of the American people to Palestinian refugees along with the many others suffering from the tragic conflict in Syria. The United States has worked with UNRWA for many decades to support Palestinian refugees, and we will continue to do so."

The Syria Regional Crisis Response Plan, with a total budget of US$ 417.4 million, details the increasingly wide impact the crisis is having throughout the region. Of 540,000 Palestine refugees in the country, around half are displaced within Syria, while around 80,000 have fled to neighboring countries. There are over 50,000 now in Lebanon and around 11,000 in Jordan. The sheer numbers and the scale of the need strain services and abilities, while  challenging living conditions and difficulties with legal issues - including visas, registration and access to services - present their own dangers.

The latest contribution from the United States ensures that UNRWA can continue supporting Palestine refugees both within and beyond Syria’s borders. Out of the total US contribution, US$ 20.9 will support UNRWA emergency activities inside Syria, with the remainder spent on the needs of Palestine refugees who have been forced to flee their homes in Syria, including to Lebanon and Jordan.

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.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: 
+972 (0)2 589 0267
Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications & Arabic Language Spokesperson
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: 
+972 (0)2 589 0724

Gaza Emergency Donate Message 4
US$ 1080 FEEDS A FAMILY IN GAZA FOR A MONTH