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UNRRA (The United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration) was an international organization made up of 47 member governments for the purpose of giving relief and rehabilitation to people in liberated countries in Europe and the Far East. UNRRA was organized in Washington, DC, on 9 November 1943. Representatives from 44 nations signed the agreement. General councils met in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on 11 November 1943; Montreal, Quebec, September 1944; and in London, England, in August 1945. The first Director General was Herbert H. Lehman, former governor of New York. The general headquarters were in Washington, DC, with regional offices in London, Shanghai, Sydney, and Cairo. Relief and rehabilitation under UNRRA consisted of food, clothing, fuel, medicines, household supplies, seeds, fertilizers, raw materials, machinery, transportation, and public utilities, as well as technical assistance. There were also health and welfare services as well as repatriation of displaced persons. The UNRRA staff was highly specialized and consisted of some 10,000 persons recruited from at least 43 nations. These employees took an oath to adhere to the ideal of international service and agreed to abstain from any act of discrimination on account of race, nationality, creed, or political belief. The purpose of UNRRA was to create a reservoir of emergency supplies and services from which nations could draw who requested assistance and proved their need. Assistance was given only after a thorough investigation by representatives of member nations. The nations given aid were those who did not have adequate foreign exchange to do the relief and rehabilitation job themselves. The original UNRRA budget was over 1¼ billion dollars. Each member nation not occupied by the enemy was asked to contribute at least one per cent of its national income.

In 1943-45 the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), with headquarters at Akron, Pennsylvania, loaned a total of 15 workers to UNRRA refugee camps in Egypt. These representatives consisted of five nurses, one doctor, one laboratory technician, one dietitian, and seven welfare workers. In 1945 five of these workers were transferred from Egypt to Italy, where they continued their service in UNRRA-administered refugee camps. From 1944 to 1949 the MCC loaned personnel to UNRRA projects in China. UNRRA furnished tractors and Chinese farmers gave seed and tilled the soil and a number of MCC workers served as field men and mechanics. These men taught the Chinese farmers how to operate the tractors and were charged with the responsibility of keeping the tractors in working order. A third area of co-operation between the MCC and UNRRA was in Poland. UNRRA had shipped to Poland 10,000 American-made farm tractors. These were distributed to 250 tractor stations. In 1947 MCC furnished 23 men to train Polish farmers to operate tractors. These farm-trained technicians served in Poland for a period of 8 months. MCC also co-operated with UNRRA in shipping livestock to European liberated countries. In all a total of over 500 Mennonites served as "seagoing cowboys" who cared for livestock on ships.


Author(s) J. N Byler
Date Published 1959


[edit] Cite This Article

MLA style

Byler, J. N. "UNRRA (The United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 24 Jul 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=UNRRA_(The_United_Nations_Relief_and_Rehabilitation_Administration)&oldid=78411.

APA style

Byler, J. N. (1959). UNRRA (The United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 July 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=UNRRA_(The_United_Nations_Relief_and_Rehabilitation_Administration)&oldid=78411.




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Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 783-784. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.


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