Reducing Palestinians funding could be ‘catastrophic’: UN

Source:AFP Published: 2018/1/12 23:48:40

Losing significant funding from its largest donor, the US, could be "catastrophic" for Palestinians, said a UN agency that provides aid to Palestinian refugees.

The US is the largest donor to UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), with a pledge of nearly $370 million as of 2016, according to UNRWA's website.

The UN agency, founded in 1949 to aid Palestinian refugees, provides educational and health services in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

"The human impact of losing significant funding could be catastrophic in the real lives of real people whom the UN is mandated to protect," UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said in a statement.

"Palestine refugees are among some of the most vulnerable people in the Middle East. Our health services offer a life line, quite literally, to vulnerable women and children, the sick and the elderly," he said.

On Tuesday the Swedish Ambassador to the UN, Olof Skoog, said he was concerned that a withdrawal of funding for UNRWA "would be very negative both in terms of humanitarian needs of over 5 million people."

Relations between the Palestinians and Washington soured last month after US President Donald Trump announced taht the US would recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, generating outrage across the Arab world.

Posted in: MID-EAST

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