US Donates $6m in Support of UNRWA

JERUSALEM, April 29, 2015 (WAFA) – The United States Government announced a new $6 million aid contribution to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) on 24 April.

During a UN Security Council Briefing on the Situation in the Middle East, the US stated that the contribution will help UNRWA provide lifesaving assistance during an initial 90-day rapid response to civilians from besieged refugee camp al-Yarmouk and those affected by conflict and displacement in other areas in Syria.

“We are deeply grateful for all the support we have received from the US for our efforts to help citizens survive this tragedy,” said UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl.

“After enduring four years of conflict, two of them under siege-like conditions, and the suffering created by armed groups, the civilians in Yarmouk are at a breaking point,” he said.

The $6 million contribution followed a $57 million contribution announced earlier on March 31 by the United States in support of the UNRWA Regional Syria Crisis Appeal.  Since the crisis began in 2011, the United States has contributed more than $247 million to UNRWA emergency appeals for Syria, part of the nearly $3.7 billion total provided by the United States to assist those affected by the conflict in Syria over the past four years.

Reiterating support for Palestine refugees in Syria and particularly those enduring the “devastating crisis in Yarmouk”, US Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power said that the contribution will provide “urgent assistance, both for the many thousands still trapped in Yarmouk and for other Palestinians and Syrians receiving a lifeline from the Agency”.

UNRWA is providing humanitarian assistance to displaced civilians from Yarmouk and neighboring areas, including food, clean water, and essentials like medicine, diapers, and soap.

To continue the provision of emergency aid, UNRWA appealed for an immediate injection of $30 million from the international community.  The UNRWA Regional Syria Crisis Appeal for 2015 is only 20 per cent funded.