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Bush frees up $32.8m for refugees

WASHINGTON, June 21 – US First Lady Laura Bush on Friday announced $32.8m in new emergency aid for refugees and conflict victims in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and the Americas.

"We all know that much work remains to meet the needs of refugees, and to deal with the violence and the persecution that causes the displacement in the first place," she said at the White House.

So US President George W. Bush freed up the money "to support unexpected and urgent needs, including food, for refugees and conflict victims in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and the Western Hemisphere," she said.

The monies will go to help victims of conflict in Somalia, Darfur, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Mali/Niger/Senegal region, and the expansion of emergency relief operations in Yemen, her spokeswoman said.

"Funds will also avert refugee food pipeline breaks in Africa, Yemen, Nepal, and Ecuador, as well as food shortfalls in Burmese refugee camps in Thailand," said the aide, Sally McDonough.

"We’re improving our refugee programs, and we’re looking for the most effective ways to help those who seek resettlement in the United States. And we’re standing in support of human dignity and the rule of law in countries from Burma to Zimbabwe," said Laura Bush.

The US State Department will be authorized to provide these funds to the International Committee of the Red Cross, the World Food Program, and other nongovernmental organizations, according to McDonough.

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