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EU donates 16 million euros to UNRWA

Dec. 28, 2013 10:50 A.M. (Updated: Dec. 29, 2013 8:16 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The European Union has announced a 16 million euro ($21.9 million) contribution to the United Nations agency for Palestine refugees, UNRWA said in a statement Friday.

The donation brought the EU's contribution to UNRWA to nearly $210 million, the statement said, adding that 41 percent of UNRWA's funding came from European countries in 2013.

"The latest generous contribution comes in response to the worsening situation in Syria and the increasing numbers of civilian deaths and casualties, including among Palestinians and humanitarian workers."

The war in Syria, UNRWA said, has rendered 440,000 Palestine refugees in "dire need" of humanitarian relief.

Twenty of the agency's employees in Syria are currently detained or missing, the statement said.

Praising the EU for its donation, UNRWA called on countries in the region to "follow the example of the European Union and help the Agency ensure that it is able to continue its work with Palestine refugees."

Also Friday, a Syrian monitoring group announced that five Palestinians had died of hunger in the besieged Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus.

"Five people died, including an elderly man, a disabled man and a woman, as a result of malnutrition and the lack of the necessary treatment," said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

At least 1,500 Palestinians have been killed in the ongoing Syria conflict.

Some 250,000 Palestinian refugees have been forced to leave their refugee camps in Syria due to violence in the country.

UNRWA is the UN agency originally set up in 1949 to ensure for relief and development for the Palestinian refugees expelled from what became the State of Israel in 1948.

Today, the agency provides health care, education, social services, and other forms of aid to nearly 5 million Palestinian refugees.
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