UNRWA Head Warns of Cut in Services to Palestinian Refugees
The head of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees said on Tuesday that it is unable to pay its 28,000 employees on time this month, and warned that it would have to cut its services to millions of registered Palestinian refugees.
Philippe Lazzarini, the commissioner-general for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) said during a visit to Jordan that even though the United States has resumed its support of the agency with the entrance of the Biden Administration, other countries have cut their allocations to the agency. For example, the United Kingdom, the agency’s third-largest donor, reduced its funding in 2021 from $57 million to $28 million.
UNRWA staff went on strike Monday after they were told that their salaries would be delayed, but returned to work following mediation, Lazzarini said.
“The humanitarian needs of Palestinian refugees keep increasing while funding to the agency has stagnated since 2013,” Lazzarini told reporters on Tuesday.
He said that donations at a recent conference in Brussels will cover up to 48% of its budget in 2022 and 2023. It also has acquired $60 million of an estimated $100 million shortfall until the end of the year to keep services running.