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Source: General Assembly
United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
17 April 2001
The United States Grants $12 Million to UNRWA's Emergency programmes


Jerusalem - In a special ceremony held on Tuesday 17 April 2001 at UNRWA's Jerusalem Field Office, the United States Government contributed $12 million to the Agency, bringing the total U.S contribution to UNRWA's on-going emergency humanitarian assistance in the West Bank and Gaza to $ 21.1 million .

On 22 February 2001, UNRWA launched a second emergency appeal requesting $37.2 million in emergency funding to enable it to continue with the humanitarian assistance for the period leading to the end of May 2001. Over $41.5 million were received and disbursed by UNRWA through its flash and first emergency appeals issued in October and November 2000 respectively.

Funds received under the second emergency appeal focus primarily on containing the poverty facing the refugee community by expanding the emergency employment creation programme established under the first appeal. The main aim is to create about 540,000 job opportunity days in Gaza and the West Bank for those most effected by the emergency. This will be done by labor intensive projects such as in school construction, shelter rehabilitation and repair of damaged and dilapidated infrastructure in camps.

The second emergency appeal requested also includes a provision for food and cash subsidies for about 217,000 families, medical services and post-injury rehabilitation, and additional mobile medical teams to reach beneficiaries in areas cut off from access to basic medical services. UNRWA also plans to take action to address the longer-term impact of the crisis on school children by developing self learning materials and distance learning modules in addition to offering make-up classes to compensate for lost school time.

The ceremony, was attended by the U.S Consul-General in Jerusalem, Ronald Schlicher, USAID Acting Director Bill Hamminck, Regional Refugee Coordinator Lisa Carty, and UNRWA's Commissioner-General, Mr. Peter Hansen and Deputy Commissioner-General Karen Abu-Zayed. In his remarks Mr. Hansen thanked the United States government for the generous contribution and said that it would enable the Agency to address the urgent needs of the refugees resulting from the continuing confrontations in the occupied territories and the resultant Israeli punitive restrictions on movement of Palestinians and goods in the West Bank and Gaza.

The Commissioner-General pointed out that the consistent support of the U.S. government, along with other major donors, demonstrated the international community's trust in UNRWA's ability to respond to an emergency situation and proved its ability to deliver badly needed humanitarian services if given the resources to do so.

Mr. Hansen highlighted the fact that the U.S. contribution to UNRWA's emergency programmes is in addition to the United States 2001 contribution of $80 million to the Agency's General Fund. The U.S. provides approximately one-quarter of the Agency's annual budget, making it UNRWA's largest single donor.

He cautioned that with an expected budgetary deficit of $65 million for its regular programmes, the Agency's existing resources and staff are already over stretched and would not be able to cope unless the additional requested funding is received. The $37.2 million in additional emergency funding requested by UNRWA and the $41.5 million received previously is over and above the Agency's total annual budget of $ 375 million for 2001 approved by the United Nations General Assembly in 1999.

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