UNRWA 'facing worst financial crisis in history'

New officer-in-charge for UN agency for "Palestinian refugees" says agency has a budget deficit of $332 million.

Ben Ariel,

UNRWA facilities in southern Gaza
UNRWA facilities in southern Gaza
Flash 90

UNRWA, the UN agency for “Palestinian refugees”, is facing the worst financial crisis in its history, the agency's officer-in-charge said Monday.

Speaking at a press conference in Jordan, Christian Saunders said the UN agency has a budget deficit of $332 million.

"We need $176 million now to provide our minimum services," he said, according to the Anadolu news agency.

"We need $80 million monthly to continue to provide our services. Next month, we will need additional $40 million to provide food and medicines," added Saunders.

Saunders said UNRWA has asked donors to fulfill their financial obligations to help the agency provide its services to the Palestinian refugees.

The US, which was previously UNRWA's largest contributor, last year cut a full $300 million in funding to the agency, leaving it strapped for cash and asking other countries to help fill the gap.

Created in 1949, UNRWA supplies aid to more than three million of the five million registered “Palestinian refugees” in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and territories assigned to the Palestinian Authority.

However, it is also notorious for its anti-Israel activities. During the 2014 counterterrorism Operation Protective Edge, Hamas rockets were discovered inside a school building run by UNRWA.

Likewise, a booby-trapped UNRWA clinic was detonated, killing three IDF soldiers. Aside from the massive amounts of explosives hidden in the walls of the clinic, it was revealed that it stood on top of dozens of terror tunnels, showing how UNRWA is closely embedded with Hamas.

The agency ran into more trouble recently, after a UN ethics report alleged mismanagement and abuses of authority at the highest levels of UNRWA. In the wake of the report, UNRWA’s previous Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl resigned earlier this month.




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