United States announces additional US$ 51.6 million to support Palestine refugees in the West Bank and Gaza

30 June 2016
© 2016 UNRWA Photo by Isabel De La Cruz

The United States announced today a new contribution of nearly US$ 52 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in response to the Agency’s 2016 Emergency Appeal for the occupied Palestinian territory. The US Consul-General, Donald Blome, and UNRWA Deputy Commissioner-General, Sandra Mitchell, made the joint announcement during a ceremony in Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem.

Remarking on the commitment of the United States government to the Palestinian people, US Consul-General Donald Blome noted, “The United States is proud of our role as UNRWA’s leading donor, and our steadfast funding for UNRWA’s emergency appeals and core education and health programs is testament to this commitment.”

“We are very grateful for this generous contribution from the government of the United States to the work of UNRWA in the West Bank and Gaza which will support those most in need of emergency assistance. This contribution comes at a critical time as emergency needs in the West Bank and Gaza continue to grow rapidly with Palestine refugees desperately seeking assistance,” said UNRWA Deputy Commissioner-General, Sandra Mitchell.

The funds will be spent on improving livelihoods, community mental health, protection, explosive remnants of war risk education, coordination and management, and safety and security. Additionally, they will go towards emergency food assistance, emergency cash-for-work, education in emergencies, and emergency health clinics, among other priority areas.

The United States is the largest bilateral donor to UNRWA and has long been one of the Agency’s most reliable supporters. This latest commitment brings the total US contribution to the 2016 oPt Emergency Appeal to US$ 95 million. In 2016, UNRWA is appealing for US$ 403 million to meet the minimum humanitarian needs of Palestine refugees in the occupied Palestinian territory. 

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 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem 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.

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