The US is contributing in 2001 $80 million to the General Fund of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), said the US embassy in Amman.
According to the embassy in a statement faxed to Albawaba.com, the contribution is intended to support UNRWA's core programs of education, health services, relief and social services. Approximately 3.6 million registered Palestinian refugees will benefit in UNRWA's five geographic areas of operation: Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank, and Gaza.
The statement said that the US has expressed appreciation for UNRWA's ongoing efforts to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to Palestinian refugees during the current violence in the region.
“The US also encouraged the Agency in its efforts to reform its accounting practices and renewed its request for other donors to demonstrate their support for the welfare of the Palestinian community by increasing their own contributions,” the embassy said.
The US typically contributes between 20 - 25 percent of UNRWA’s budget through the Department of State's Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.
This contribution is in addition to a contribution for $8.8 million announced in December to address emergency needs arising from the current violence in the West Bank and Gaza, according to the statement.
Due to UNRWA's weakened financial state, particularly acute in 1997, UNRWA has been struggling to maintain its services for a growing refugee population with a roughly constant budget, according to www.refugees.com.
This trend led the agency to rack up a string of successive annual budget deficits that severely eroded UNRWA's financial position. The agency has been forced to implement austerity measures that continued to severely strain UNRWA's ability to assist Palestinian refugees – Albawaba.com
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