UN agency says it needs $800 million a year to help Palestinians | Refugee news

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) will ask for $800 million a year at an upcoming donor conference in Brussels to help Palestinians.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said it will seek another injection of funds at an upcoming donor conference, after it endured years of financial instability under former US President Donald Trump’s administration.

UNRWA Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini told reporters at UN headquarters in New York that the organization needed “predictability” for its operations to conduct “three core activities” – education, health and social services.

The Palestinian refugee organization will ask for $800 million a year at a donor conference to be held in Brussels next month.

With the funding, the UN agency will be able to run about 700 schools, care for 550,000 children, as well as provide health centers and social assistance to Palestinian refugees and their descendants.

Lazzarini said there was also a need for an additional amount, estimated at about $500,000 in 2022, to cover UNRWA’s humanitarian aid.

The agency, which assists more than five million Palestinians in the Palestinian territories, Jordan and Lebanon, fell short of $100 million this year and warned it may have to halt some activities in November and December.

“Today we continue to struggle, looking for money,” said Lazzarini. “As Commissioner General I never know weeks in advance whether I would be able to pay the salaries of 28,000 employees.”

Washington had cut almost all aid to UNRWA in 2018 under Trump, who rejected the entire idea that Palestinians are refugees.

The US was the agency’s largest donor, contributing about 30 percent (nearly $365 million) of UNRWA’s annual budget.

The organization was seriously injured by years of budget cuts, but managed to survive.

Current US President Joe Biden has pledged to restore aid to the Palestinians and restore the goal of a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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