Cambodia:

Multilateral Relief Efforts in Border Camps

NSIAD-91-99FS: Published: Jan 22, 1991. Publicly Released: Jan 22, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined the amount and management of humanitarian aid provided by multilateral organizations to Cambodians in border camps in Thailand, focusing on the: (1) amount of money spent to support the camps; (2) purposes for which the money was used; and (3) control and accountability systems for managing the funds.

GAO found that: (1) between 1982 and 1989, more than $331 million in multinational support assisted Cambodians living in border camps managed by the United Nations Border Relief Operation (UNBRO); (2) most of the relief was provided through UNBRO, and the U.S. share of donations ranged from a high of 49 percent in 1983 to 23 percent in 1989, for a total of $101 million; (3) the funds provided such basic humanitarian relief as food, shelter, and medical care and such supplementary assistance as vocational training; (4) UNBRO assisted approximately 300,000 displaced Cambodians, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) provided relief to about 11,000 refugees and 5,000 displaced persons; (5) UNBRO and UNHCR provided basic humanitarian relief and supplementary services mostly through contracts with voluntary agencies; (6) UNBRO estimated that, by the end of 1990, the camps would have about 2,500 trained primary health care workers to assist with health programs and assume a care provider role in villages; (7) UNBRO reported that it could adequately account for their donors' contributions, but acknowledged that it could not ensure the accountability and proper use of commodities it turned over to camp administrators for distribution; and (8) diversions of commodities have occurred, but United Nations and voluntary agency officials did not know the extent of the diversions.

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