Cameroon – UN agencies supporting Palestinian refugees are facing an “existing” budget crisis and are seeking $ 120 million in emergency funding to continue essential education, health care and other services. The head of the agency said on Friday.
“We continue to struggle and chase cash,” Philip Lazzarini told reporters.
“Financial conditions are an existential threat to organizations and can force organizations to reduce services, so this should not be underestimated,” he added.
At stake is the institution’s ability to send 550,000 children to school in November and December, provide medical care to thousands, and pay 28,000 employees.
The United Nations Relief Agency, known as UNRWA, provides education, medical care, food and other services to 700,000 Palestinians displaced or displaced during the 1948 war over the establishment of Israel. Established to provide.
“If yes or no, we can continue to operate in November and December,” Lazzarini added, adding that it is not clear to government officials.
He emphasized the importance of the United States returning as a major donor to UNRWA this year after former President Donald Trump stopped all funding in 2018. The Biden administration announced in April that it would provide a total of $ 235 million for projects on the West Bank and Gaza. Similar to UNRWA.
However, Lazarini said US funding was offset by a decline in funding from other donors as a result of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with no information from potential donors in the Middle East.
He said the UK’s overseas aid budget was reduced from 0.7% to 0.5% of GDP, and Arab assistance to UNRWA was from $ 200 million in 2018 to about $ 89 million in 2019 and $ 37 million in 2020. Pointed out that it decreased to.
He said UNRWA’s uncertain funding created concerns among Palestinian refugees that the “lifeline” provided by the institution could be undermined and the feeling of being abandoned by the international community. rice field.
To reverse this trend, Lazarini plans to co-sponsor a meeting in Brussels in mid-November between Sweden and Jordan, the main purpose of which is to secure multi-year funding predictable by the agency. Said that.
UNRWA is seeking $ 800 million annually over three years for “core” activities such as education, health care, social protection and safety nets, he said.
UNRWA also has separate emergency budgets to provide humanitarian aid to Gaza and Syria, he said. He said the budget for this year is about $ 500 million and will be the same in 2022.
Currently, there are 5.7 million Palestinian refugees, including children and grandchildren, but UNRWA supports only 550,000 at school and 2.8 million with health benefits, according to Lazarini.
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UN agency for Palestinian refugees has an urgent budget crisis
Source link UN agency for Palestinian refugees has an urgent budget crisis