UNRWA issues aid appeal for programs in Syria

Refugees at a camp near the Syrian-Turkish border. The U.N. agency that assists Palestinian refugees is seeking $53 million to provide aid to Palestinians affected by the months-long conflict in Syria. Photo by: Asmaa Waguih / Reuters

The U.N. agency that assists Palestinian refugees is seeking $53 million to provide aid to Palestinians affected by the months-long conflict in Syria.

At least half of the more than 500,000 Palestinians living in Syria are directly affected by the conflict and require humanitarian assistance, according to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East. This number is rising and expected to “go even higher,” Michael Kingsley, UNRWA director for Syria, has added.

Funds the UNRWA will raise through its appeal will be used to keep its schools, health centers and food distribution centers in Syria open. The agency is also distributing blankets, mats, cooking sets, medicines and other basic items to Palestinian families caught in the conflict.

UNRWA is not the only U.N. agency or humanitarian aid group seeking funds for its operations in Syria. The United Nations, as a whole, has a running appeal for $348 million to address humanitarian needs within the country for 2012. The appeal has so far raised $173 million or approximately 49.9 percent of the money required.

The office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees has a separate appeal for aid programs for Syrian refugees that have fled to neighboring countries. The agency is seeking $487.9 million, of which it has received $141.5 million as of September.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Muslim Aid, and the International Rescue Committee, among others, also have standing funding appeals for their operations in Syria.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributes to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.