Office of the Spokesman
September 12, 2007
New Funding Announced: U.S. Contributes $24 Million for Relief of Refugees and Displaced Persons in the Middle East and Sri Lanka
Using the Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance (ERMA) Fund, the President has made $24 million available for use in several large-scale relief efforts for refugees and internally displaced persons, including $12 million for Iraq-related humanitarian programs, $10 million to assist Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, and $2 million for conflict victims and refugees from Sri Lanka. Funding details are:
- An additional $9 million for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees/ United Nations Children’s Fund (UNHCR/UNICEF) joint education appeal for Iraqi refugees in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt. This new contribution is in addition to the $30 million contribution announced in late August, and will be used to support the enrollment of an additional 150,000 Iraqi children in the region.
- $2 million to support critical health and education-related activities of non-governmental organizations in Jordan and Syria.
- $1 million to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for an anti-trafficking in persons program in Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon. The IOM program will assist government and NGO efforts in this area, and seed a “return fund” for victims of trafficking who wish to return home.
- $10 million to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to help Palestinian refugees who have been displaced from Lebanon’s Nahr al-Bared camp. The funding will also help their host families, both Lebanese and Palestinian, specifically in the areas of temporary shelter, water and sanitation services, health care, and education. In addition, to assist the Lebanese communities surrounding the Nahr al-Bared, the United States will immediately provide $100,000 for urgent humanitarian needs and also review ongoing bilateral assistance in northern Lebanon to provide additional long term resources.
- $2 million to support the work of UNHCR and non-governmental organizations protecting and assisting Sri Lankan internally displaced persons and refugees in India. Programs will provide protection, emergency shelter, non-food relief items, water and sanitation, camp management, reception services for new arrivals, and special projects designed to make returning home a viable long-term proposition.