Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced today that the United States will be making an additional contribution of $60.3 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to support UNRWA’s core budget and special projects in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan.
The $60.3 million contribution will provide critical services, including health, to 4.7 million Palestinian refugees. Of this contribution, $5.7 million will support nine special projects, including reconstruction and rehabilitation of schools in Jordan, Syria, and the West Bank, an afterschool program for refugee children in Lebanon, and a referral system to help refugees facing gender-based violence.
UNRWA currently faces a shortfall of $161 million, including $91 million for core expenses such as salaries for teachers educating nearly 500,000 Palestinian refugee children across the region.
With this contribution, the U.S. will have provided more than $225 million to UNRWA in 2010, including $120 million to its General Fund, $75 million to its West Bank/Gaza emergency programs, $20 million to emergency programs in Lebanon, and $10 million for the construction of five new schools in Gaza.
The U.S. commitment to the welfare of the Palestinian people was further underscored by the President’s June 9 announcement that the United States will move forward with $400 million to increase access to clean drinking water, create jobs, build schools, and address critical housing and infrastructure needs in the West Bank and Gaza. As UNRWA’s largest bilateral donor, the U.S. recognizes the critical role UNRWA plays in assisting Palestinian refugees and maintaining regional stability and calls upon other donors to enhance their support for UNRWA.