Kuwait gives UN $15 mn for Syria's Palestinian refugees

AFP , Thursday 18 Apr 2013

Oil-rich Kuwait grants UN refugee agency $15 mn – out of pledged $300 mn – to help meet overwhelming humanitarian needs generated by crisis in Syria

Kuwait has donated $15 million to the United Nations to help war-torn Syria's 500,000 Palestinian refugees, the United Nations said on Thursday.

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, says half of the Palestinian refugees in Syria have been internally displaced by the conflict and that 45,000 have fled to neighbouring Lebanon and Jordan.

"Kuwait has given UNRWA $15 million of its overall pledge of $300 million to the UN to help the organisation meet the overwhelming humanitarian needs generated by the crisis in Syria," UNRWA said.

"This is one of the largest single donations UNRWA has received for what we are doing in Syria and surrounding countries," UNRWA Commissioner General Filippo Grandi said in the statement.

"With this money we will be able to provide critical assistance, such as emergency accommodation to about 8,000 Palestinians and Syrians in some of our schools," he said.

Syria's two-year uprising against President Bashar al-Assad has left at least 400,000 Palestinian refugees in the country in need of humanitarian aid, UNRWA says.

The sprawling Yarmouk refugee camp outside Damascus, which before the crisis was "home to over 150,000 Palestinians, is now a battleground... Other camps in the Damascus area are now similarly engulfed by conflict," UNRWA said.

Eight members of UNRWA itself were reported to be have arrested or disappeared before the conflict reached the two-year mark.

UNRWA, which is almost entirely reliant on voluntary contributions, says its current deficit stands at nearly $70 million.

Syria's uprising, which started in March 2011 and quickly escalated into a civil war, has killed more than 70,000 people, according to UN figures.

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