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U.S. Gives $3.5 Million To Help Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon

05 June 2007

Refugees to receive emergency food, shelter, water through U.N. fund

Washington -- The United States will contribute $3.5 million in humanitarian assistance to a United Nations fund for Palestinian refugees in northern Lebanon.

The contribution to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) will provide emergency food for up to 5,200 families displaced by actions of the terrorist group Fatah al-Islam, as well as to 4,500 previously displaced families living in Beddawi refugee camps and in other areas in Lebanon.

It also will support the distribution of shelter supplies, hygiene kits and water and sanitation services, according to a June 5 State Department fact sheet.

"The United States is closely monitoring the humanitarian conditions of Palestinian refugees in northern Lebanon and working with implementing partners to assess needs and determine whether to reopen resources to address unfolding emergency needs," a State Department spokesman said.

The United States is the largest bilateral donor to UNRWA, which June 3 issued a three-month appeal for $12.66 million to help Palestinian refuges in Lebanon.

Congress appropriated $769.5 million for aid to Lebanon in the emergency supplemental bill for fiscal year 2007.

Of that, $295 million is for economic support, which includes $250 million for debt relief.  Another $5 million is for democracy programs and nearly $50 million is for strengthening Lebanon's legislative and judicial processes and municipal government operations.

The legislation provides $250 million for Lebanon's armed forces, $184 million for international peacekeepers, $60 million for drug control efforts, and $5.5 million for nonproliferation, anti-terrorism and land mine removal activities.

In February, the United States donated an initial $50 million to UNRWA's general fund for education, health and social programs for refugees in the agency's five areas of operation -- Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Additional contributions soon will be made to the general fund, including $1.65 million for UNRWA's Lebanon Camp Rehabilitation Initiative, the spokesman said.

The fact sheet and the full text of the spokesman’s statement are available on the State Department Web site.

For more information on U.S. policies, see Lebanon Assistance.

(USINFO is produced by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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