UN warns of food crisis in Gaza

UN says its agencies providing food assistance to Gaza must raise tens of millions of dollars within weeks to avoid significant aid cuts.

Ben Ariel,

Woman receives aid from World Food Program office in Gaza
Woman receives aid from World Food Program office in Gaza
Reuters

The UN warned on Wednesday that its agencies providing food assistance to Gaza must raise tens of millions of dollars within weeks to avoid significant aid cuts, AFP reported.

The UN's World Food Program and UNRWA, the UN agency for “Palestinian refugees”, currently provide food assistance to more than one million people in Gaza.

However, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories, Jamie McGoldrick, warned that the agencies were facing "a serious funding crisis."

They needed to raise money fast to be able to make a looming order for the food needed for the remainder of the year, he told journalists in Geneva.

"We envisage that if WFP and UNRWA don't get around 40 million dollars by the end of May - beginning of June, they will not be able to order the pipeline," he warned, according to AFP.

WFP announced late last year it would cut food aid to about 190,000 Palestinian Arabs in Gaza and Palestinian Authority (PA)-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria due a shortage of funds.

The move followed the slashing of US aid funding to humanitarian agencies working in the region by the Trump administration.

The United States, the largest single contributor to UNRWA, announced in August that it would end its $350 million a year funding for the agency, describing the organization as an “irredeemably flawed operation”.

That announcement followed a previous US announcement in January that it would cut some of its funding to UNRWA due to a need to undertake a fundamental re-examination of the organization, both in the way it operates and the way it is funded.

In addition to the cuts to UNRWA, the US announced that it will cut almost all of its aid to the PA, having previously provided around $500 million a year through different mechanisms.

UNRWA is planning to host a donor's conference next month and another one in September, as it struggles to fill the void after Washington withdrew its support.

Last year, a number of countries stepped up to generously compensate for the lacking US funding, but McGoldrick said that this year a huge shortfall remained.

"If they don't get the funding, clearly they can't order the food," he said, adding that this would mean that in the second half of the year, either the number of people receiving aid will be cut or rations will be slashed, or both.




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