The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) says that it needs $800m a year to provide assistance to Palestinian refugees.
Talking to reporters at the United Nations headquarters in New York, UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini said that the agency required “predictability” in order to carry out its “three core activities”: education, health, and social services.
The UN’s Palestinian refugee agency says that it will ask for $800 million a year at a donor meeting next month in Brussels.
The money will help the UN agency operate 700 schools, serving 550,000 students, as well as health clinics and social services for Palestinian refugees and their descendants.
According to Lazzarini, there is also a need for an extra sum, projected to be approximately $500,000 in 2022, to fund UNRWA’s humanitarian assistance.
Lazzarini said, “Today we keep struggling, running after cash. I never know as a commissioner-general weeks ahead if I would be able to pay the salaries of 28,000 staff.”
The agency, which helps more than five million Palestinians in the Palestinian territories, Jordan, and Lebanon, is $100 million short of funding for the rest of the year and has warned that certain operations may have to be put on halt in November and December.
Earlier, under the administration of former President Trump, all funding to UNRWA was stopped in 2018, Trump notwithstanding the idea of Palestinian refugees.
The United States has been UNRWA’s single biggest contributor, providing almost 30% (— nearly $365 million) of the agency’s annual budget.
Years of funding cutbacks had wreaked havoc, yet the organization has managed to remain afloat.
US President Joe Biden has pledged to return assistance to Palestinians and re-establish the goal of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue via negotiation.