The United States Government pledged today more than $123 million in support of Palestinian refugees and UNRWA at a school inauguration event with UNRWA Commissioner General Pierre Krähenbühl. The United States has always been and continues to be the largest and most reliable bilateral donor to UNRWA. Simon Henshaw, a senior State Department official for the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration visited Jerusalem and the West Bank from December 12-13 to announce the U.S. contribution and to underscore that the United States’ longstanding commitment to Palestinian refugees remains strong and its dedication to UNRWA remains resolute.
The December 13 announcement of the $123.4 million contribution is the first tranche of U.S. support to help UNRWA cover its 2016 needs. Those funds mean that Palestinian children have textbooks and teachers, health centers have doctors, nurses and medicine, and those refugees who are most in need of assistance receive it. This assistance benefits 5.2 million Palestinian refugees, not only in the West Bank and Gaza, but across the region. The United States provided more than $380 million to UNRWA to help meet humanitarian needs in 2015, funds which kept 700 schools open and educated more than half a million Palestinian children.
This funding announcement came during the ceremony to inaugurate the new UNRWA school in Ein Arik, near Ramallah. Nearly four years ago, UNRWA came to the United States government with an urgent problem. Some 200 students in the Ein Arik Co-Ed School had to be evacuated from their rented school building when nearby excavation work threatened the structural integrity of the building. UNRWA asked for U.S. support to construct a new school that would give these students a truly excellent education. The United States provided more than $1.6 million for its construction. The new school will help the students of Ein Arik village with their first steps to become leaders both at home and in the global community. They will receive one of the best educations available in the Middle East as a result of the United States partnership with UNRWA.
UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl thanked the government and people of the United States: “We are very grateful for the generous contribution of the United States to fund UNRWA’s regular programmes in 2016, as announced during the inauguration of the new school in Ein Arik, which was built with US support. The Agency’s education programme is essential for Palestinian refugee children to have improved prospects and hope for the future. UNRWA will continue to rely on the support of the international community to provide vital services such as education and health, emergency assistance, and better and more dignified livelihoods to Palestinian refugees across the Middle East.”
For more information please contact the U.S. Consulate General’s Press Office at 02-622-6908, or Information Specialist Naser Ideis at 0545420943