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US Announces $40 Million in New Aid to Refugees

The United States announced Friday that it will contribute an additional $40 billion toward United Nations refugee assistance efforts.

At a press conference in Washington, Assistant Secretary of State Ellen Sauerbrey and U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said the new money will be used for relief efforts around the world.

Half of the money will go to help refugees in Africa. Sauerbrey and Guterres said there is a special need to address the situation in Sudan's Darfur region, where fighting has displaced more than two million people and recently spilled over to neighboring Chad.

Sauerbrey also cited the need to help Colombian refugees living in Ecuador and facilitate the return of others displaced from Afghanistan, Liberia and Burundi.

The new contribution brings total U.S. assistance to U.N. refugee programs to $274 million for 2006.