US REAFFIRMS ITS SUPPORT FOR UNRWA
06 July 2014
The United States of America has made a generous new contribution of $39,646,589 to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
The bulk of the new U.S. contribution, $30,466,589, will support UNRWA’s core education, health and social services programmes, benefiting the approximately five million Palestinian refugees registered by UNRWA in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Of this General Fund contribution, $3,954,111 will provide targeted assistance to UNRWA education, health, and protection projects. In addition, the U.S. announced $9,180,000 to support reconstruction work in Gaza.
This new contribution brings the total fiscal year 2014 U.S. contributions to date to more than $250 million, including $135,466,589 for UNRWA’s 2014 General Fund.
Thanking the U.S. for its crucial support, Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissioner-General of UNRWA, said: “We are very grateful to the United States for this new contribution, which will make a major difference to the lives of many thousands of Palestine refugees”. He added: "the United States, which is our largest bilateral donor, has once again shown steadfast and consistent commitment to assisting UNRWA and Palestine refugees”.
UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.
Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 69 million.
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