US Contributes US$ 18.3m to UNRWA
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is grateful to the Government of the United States of America for its generous contribution of US$ 18.3 million. The new funding will support UNRWA emergency activities in Syria and Lebanon, helping Palestine refugees impacted by the ongoing conflict.
UNRWA Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi thanked the US for its contribution to the Agency. He said: "The US has once again demonstrated its commitment to the relief of Palestine refugees. Their support will help UNRWA provide important assistance to those Palestine refugees who remain inside Syria, as well as to those who have fled to neighbouring countries, especially Lebanon.”
Palestine refugees have been severely affected by the armed conflict in Syria, with virtually all their residential areas experiencing armed engagements or the use of heavy weapons. The number of Palestine refugees in need of emergency assistance in Syria is rapidly approaching the total population of 529,000 registered refugees. Since the start of the conflict, in 2011, UNRWA has distributed cash assistance to 278,000 Palestine refugees and non-food items to 77,000. Nearly 90,000 Palestine refugee families have received UNRWA food parcels.
The UNRWA emergency response in Syria has been made possible in part by US support, which now totals nearly US$ 82 million since 2012. The US remains the largest bilateral supporter to both the Agency’s emergency operations as well as to its core programming in education, health and relief activities.
Anne C. Richard, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, reiterated US support for UNRWA, saying: “The President’s announcement today demonstrates the commitment of the United States to the humanitarian needs of all those affected by the conflict in Syria, including Palestine refugees. The United States has worked with UNRWA for over 60 years to ensure Palestine refugees receive the essential humanitarian support that they need.”
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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