UK International Development Minister Alan Duncan on Tuesday announced a new three-year package of aid for UNRWA to support Palestinian refugees in Jordan and the region.
In a statement sent to The Jordan Times on Tuesday, the British embassy in Amman said the total donation was about £100 million (JD110 million, $155 million), including £7.5 million already confirmed for this year and up to £99.5 million more by 2015.
The package will help provide health, education and other vital services to tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, the statement said.
According to the embassy, each year the aid will deliver education for over 36,000 children, provide at least four antenatal appointments for over 6,000 pregnant women and contribute cash transfers to over 20,000 households.
Duncan made the announcement after visiting the Baqaa refugee camp as part of a regional tour.
“Today in Amman and yesterday in Lebanon, I have seen for myself the excellent work that UNRWA is doing to improve life for Palestinian refugees. I met their dedicated staff and heard stories from the refugees whose lives have been transformed by their work,” Duncan said.
“I am proud to announce that the UK is able to continue to support this vital work.”
“[The UK] has emerged as a model donor, consistent in its commitment, financially and in advocating for UNRWA’s human development mission,” the statement quoted UNRWA Commissioner General Filippo Grandi as saying.
While in Jordan, the British minister also visited the Jordanian-Syrian border and toured the UN transit facility providing assistance to Syrian refugees fleeing the violence in their country.
Visiting the Bashabsheh site in the border town of Ramtha, Duncan warned that the humanitarian situation in Syria risks deteriorating significantly in the weeks and months ahead unless there is an immediate end to ongoing violence, according to a second statement from the embassy.
“I have spoken to families today who told me first-hand of the devastating harm and deadly effect the ongoing violence is having in villages and towns across Syria,” he said. “Thousands have been killed and wounded and many more have fled their homes as a result of the horrendous violence. There is a clear risk that thousands more will follow them in the weeks and months ahead if the violence doesn’t stop.”
Citing UN figures, the statement said that over 87,000 people had fled Syria and 500,000 more had been forced to move to other areas within the country. More than one million people are now thought to be in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.
The embassy noted that the UK is providing £2 million to the UN Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) regional response plan to address the critical needs of refugees in the region, and provides substantial core funding to the UNHCR, including £39 million in 2011/2012.
London has committed £8.5m in funding for the global response to the Syrian crisis, the statement added, providing nearly 24,000 families in Syria with emergency food supplies and delivering medical care, food, shelter and clean water for tens of thousands of people in Syria and the region.