UNRWA launches an appeal to raise $1.6 billion for the 2023 budget and warns of collapse | News

UNRWA launches an appeal to raise $1.6 billion for the 2023 budget and warns of collapse | News
UNRWA launches an appeal to raise $1.6 billion for the 2023 budget and warns of collapse | News
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25/1/2023|Last updated: 1/25/202303:10 AM (Makkah)

Philippe Lazzarini, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), made an appeal to collect $1.6 billion from the international community to cover the agency’s program expenditures for the current year, and called on Arab countries to increase their contributions.

Lazzarini said on Tuesday at a press conference in Geneva that the agency could have requested twice that amount, but it saw a stagnation in resources over the past ten years, noting that the agency’s budget for the fourth year witnessed a deficit of more than $70 million.

He added that it seeks to collect 311 million dollars for the Gaza Strip, 33 million dollars for the West Bank, 247 million dollars for Syria, 160 million dollars for Lebanon, and 29 million dollars for Jordan.

The UN official warned that the UN agency had entered a “dangerous area” and could reach a breaking point, which could lead to the suspension of its activities, he said.

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Lazzarini attributed the weak donor contribution to the UNRWA budget to the multiplicity of crises and humanitarian needs in the world, as well as to what he called “new regional political dynamics,” saying that he did not see a contradiction between supporting Palestinian refugees and the establishment of relations with Israel by some countries.

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During the current year, the agency needs $848 million for basic services that include health, education, relief, social services and protection, while another $781 million will be allocated to fund emergency operations in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

Last year, UNRWA – which provides aid to about 5.9 million Palestinians – received about $1.2 billion, but funding provided by Arab countries declined to only 4% of the total contributions to the agency, after it was about a quarter in 2018.

Most of the Palestinian refugees currently live below the poverty line, while many of them depend on humanitarian aid, which includes cash and food assistance provided by UNRWA, according to the UN agency.

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