Spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) Sami Mushaâ€™sha, on Saturday, said that Washingtonâ€™s decision to cut funding for the agency does not signify the end of its work, stressing that the decision is not an inevitable fate, and not the end of the agency.
In an interview with Al-Ghad TV, Mushaâ€™sha said that even since the US reduced its contribution to the agency, at the start of the year, the UN has moved on more than one level, and launched an unprecedented campaign to mobilize new and additional financial resources from the traditional donor countries, noting that it was able to raise a total of $ 238 million.
He explained that the American decision has had an impact on the services of the UNRWA, in terms of quantity and quality, but that the Agency was able to catch a breath and implement a counter policy, in hopes thatÂ it will fruit despite the difficult situation, pointing out that the school year has begun, and that this in itself is an achievement in the context of financial distress.
According to the PNN, the US contributed about one third of a $1.1Â billion 2017 budget. Last week, it announced a $200 million cut in funding to the Palestinian refugees.
UNRWA provides aid, mostly in the form of education, health care, food security and other essentials, to some 800,000 Palestinians registered as refugees in the West Bank and 1.3Â million people in the Gaza Strip, as well as 534,000 in Syria, 464,000 in Lebanon and 2Â million in Jordan.
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Chris Carlson is a student of religion at Mount Mercy University, United States, and has been a regular volunteer with the IMEMC since 2013. He assisted in providing extensive coverage of the 2014 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip and continues, into the present day, with the issues at hand. He can be reached via email at c h r i s @ i m e m c . o r g.