UNRWA seeks $1.2b to help 5 million Palestinians

Ramallah (QNN) – The head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees said on Friday he hopes donors will be as generous this year as they were last year after the United States cut all funding for the $1.2 billion program to help some 5 million Palestinians.

Krahenbuhl said at a news conference that 42 countries and institutions increased their funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency last year. He called that “unprecedented”, adding that it was also “very remarkable” that every single pledge in 2018 was honored.

He praised the strong mobilization of funds from Europe, the Gulf countries, Asia, the Americas and beyond, adding that “we’re very inspired by that result”.

Krahenbuhl said UNRWA has covered its expenses for the first five months of 2019 “in a fairly stable way … and that is positive.” But, he said, “in June, we started entering deficit figures.”

“If every single donor would preserve and maintain their level of contribution reached in 2018, we would be able to cover the financial needs of UNRWA.” He said he will be appealing for immediate funds to avoid any break in services.

The big question, Krahenbuhl said, is whether there will be enough money for schools to open in late August and early September.

The US government contributed $360 million to UNRWA in 2017, but the Trump administration cut that to just $60 million last year and to nothing this year.

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