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Source: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
5 January 2015


05 January 2015

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) provided a US$ 50,000 grant to UNRWA through American Friends of UNRWA (UNRWA USA) in July 2014, contributing to the critical UNRWA food assistance programme for Palestine refugees in Syria. With this funding, UNRWA was able to provide parcels containing 10 days of food for 922 families (over 3,600 individuals) trapped in the besieged area of Yarmouk, Damascus.

UNRWA and UNRWA USA thank UMCOR for this grant. “As the need for emergency humanitarian aid in Syria continues to increase, we are grateful for the generous UMCOR donation, which helps vulnerable communities in Yarmouk. We look forward to continuing this partnership beyond the current crisis to ensure Palestine refugees in Syria continue to receive the support they need,” said Abby Smardon, Executive Director of UNRWA USA.

After four years of conflict, the Palestine refugee community in Syria is extremely vulnerable. Of the 560,000 registered Palestine refugees in Syria, 280,000 have been internally displaced and 460,000 will require continued humanitarian assistance in 2015. The UNRWA food assistance programme, alongside cash assistance, is a critical intervention that helps ensure Palestine refugees meet their daily minimum food needs and bolster their resilience.

The situation for civilians trapped in Yarmouk remains extremely grave. More than 18,000 Palestine refugees have been trapped in the area for over a year and a half, with limited access to food, water, and medical supplies. UNRWA is deeply concerned about the desperate humanitarian situation and continues to appeal to all parties to do everything in their power to end the suffering of civilians. The Agency continues to seek from all sides conditions that enable UNRWA to offer a full range of humanitarian assistance and services inside Yarmouk on a continuous, substantial and safe basis.


The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to alleviating human suffering around the globe. UMCOR’s work reaches people in more than 80 countries, including the United States of America. UMCOR provides humanitarian relief when war, conflict, or natural disaster disrupt life to such an extent that communities are unable to recover on their own.


UNRWA USA is an independent non-profit 501 (c)3 organization that provides support for UNRWA’s humanitarian work through advocacy, fundraising, and education. UNRWA USA aims to educate the general American public about the situation of Palestine refugees and generate support for UNRWA programs in the West Bank, Gaza, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan.


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$ 35 million.

For more information, please contact:

Abby Smardon
Executive Director, American Friends of UNRWA
(+1) 202-223-3767
(+1) 202-223-3767

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