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Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
December 30, 2008


The United States Contributes $85 Million for Humanitarian Assistance to Palestinian Refugees

The United States announces its plan to contribute $85 million to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) for its 2009 appeals. Of the $85 million announced today, $25 million will go to UNRWA’s Emergency Appeal for the West Bank and Gaza; $60 million to UNRWA’s General Fund.

Through this contribution to the Emergency Appeal for the West Bank and Gaza, Palestinian refugees, who comprise 70 percent of the population in Gaza and 30 percent in the West Bank, will receive urgently needed food, medicines, and other critical humanitarian assistance. The contribution to UNRWA’s General Fund will support the provision of basic and vocational education, primary health care, and relief and social services to more than 4.6 million registered Palestinian refugees in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.

The United States reiterates its deep concern about the escalating violence in Gaza and commends UNRWA’s important work meeting the emergency needs of civilians in Gaza at this very difficult time. We hold Hamas fully responsible for breaking the ceasefire and for the renewal of violence. We call on all concerned to protect innocent lives and to address the urgent humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza, by facilitating necessary access into Gaza for UNRWA and other humanitarian organizations. We also encourage other states to provide urgently needed funding to UNRWA and other international organizations providing lifesaving care to civilians in Gaza.

The United States is UNRWA’s largest bilateral donor, and contributed $184.68 million to UNRWA towards its 2008 Appeals, including $99.87 million for UNRWA’s General Fund and $84.81 million for its emergency appeals for Lebanon, the West Bank, and Gaza. The United States plans to provide additional funding for UNRWA's 2009 appeals in the future.
2008/1105

Released on December 30, 2008

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