Days of Palestine

Sunday, January 29

UNRWA warns of insufficient funds, pleads for contributions

Days of Palestine -

UNRWA has warned that it will run out of money in a few weeks if donors did not step in quickly.

"As we speak, UNRWA has only enough money to run its operations until mid-June," Pierre Krahenbuhl, UNRWA commissioner-general told the UN Security Council on Wednesday.

Krahenbuhl said the agency needs $1.2 billion this year for all of its operations across the region.

"This is the exact amount we mobilized last year," he said. "If every donor managed to maintain its level of funding in 2019, we should be able to cover our budget."

He said he was particularly worried about making sure UNRWA's 715 schools could open on time in August to serve a half-million students, as well as being able to continue food distribution programs.

Midyear financial shortages are not unusual for the agency, which is supported entirely by voluntary contributions. But it has faced an unprecedented funding crisis since last year, when the Trump administration abruptly slashed and then stopped its financial contribution. Historically, Washington has been the agency's largest donor.

UNRWA provides more than five million Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip, West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria with essential services, including education and health care.