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Source: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
28 February 2008

USA donates more than half a million USD to UNRWA to improve the health services to the displaced of Nahr El Bared camp

Beirut, 28 February 2008 - Mr. Samuel M. Witten, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for the US Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, who is currently in Lebanon, visited UNRWA Offices in North Lebanon on 28 February and was briefed by senior officials from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) about the progress made on the Nahr El Bared crisis and reconstruction plan.

Mr. Witten has announced, on behalf of the US Government, a donation of 556,000 USD in addition to the previous contribution of the US to the Emergency Appeal for North Lebanon. The funds will be used to establish a temporary health clinic for the displaced persons that have returned to the area adjacent to Nahr el Bared Camp.

'With the generous donation of the US Government, we will provide around 600 families with full health services that would otherwise be difficult for these people to access', said Richard Cook, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon.

The US has been an outstanding supporter of UNRWA since the Agency started its operations in 1950 and has over the decades consistently been its largest donor. This commitment was re-emphasized by the US Governemnt's support to UNRWA in Lebanon after the Nahr el Bared-crisis broke out last year, both with its contributions to UNRWA´s Flash Appeal for immediate assistance to the displaced, and to the subsequent Emergency Appeal.

The US was the first donor to respond to UNRWA's Emergency Appeal for North Lebanon with a pledge of $10 million. Earlier, the U.S. had contributed $3.5 million to UNRWA´s Flash Appeal.

The US has furthermore been a very generous contributor to UNRWA, in 2007 donating $154 million. For 2008 the US has already announced its first tranche contribution of US$ 40 million to the General Fund and on this occasion Commissioner-General, Karen Koning AbuZayd, remarked that an investment in the General Fund 'is an investment in the well-being and human development of Palestine refugees. By providing Palestinians with education, health care and enhancing their self-sufficiency, UNRWA contributes to the humanitarian space in which peace can take hold'.

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