Washington, DC,15th April, 2016 (WAM) – The United States announced an initial contribution of nearly $421 million of humanitarian assistance toward the 2016 global appeal for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

This brings the total U.S. Government contribution to UNHCR to nearly $698 million to date in FY 2016. Additional U.S. contributions in support of UNHCR’s invaluable work on behalf of refugees will be forthcoming over the course of this year.

”The international community is currently witnessing a refugee crisis of global proportions. As more than a million people made dangerous journeys across the sea into Europe this past year, millions more refugees in countries around the world continue to hope for a brighter future and a more promising path to a better life. This year’s initial contribution, funded through the Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, will support UNHCR efforts worldwide,” said John Kirby, Assistant Secretary and Department of State Spokesperson, in a press statement .

This contribution will support the protection, local integration, and resettlement efforts of refugees from countries such as Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. U.S. humanitarian aid will also support the life-saving provision of water, shelter, food, healthcare, and education to millions of refugees, internally displaced persons, and other persons under UNHCR’s care and protection in countries such as Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan, Colombia, South Sudan, and Kenya.

In Fiscal Year 2015, the United States contributed more than $1.3 billion to UNHCR to support continuing and emergency programs around the world. This included nearly $352 million to UNHCR for the continuing role it plays in responding to the Syria crisis.