Wednesday, 22 May 2019
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United Nations appeals for $1.2b to care for Palestinian refugees

[Mohammed Salem/Reuters]
UN   –   The U.N. agency tasked to assist Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, has appealed for a total of 1.2 billion U.S. dollars to fund its vital core services and life-saving humanitarian aid for 5.4 million Palestinian refugees across the Middle East in 2019

The presentation of the agency’s 2019 priorities and financial requirements comes in the wake of a remarkable global mobilization to overcome an unprecedented shortfall and existential crisis following the decision b the United States,  its largest donor, to cut 300 million dollars of its contribution last year.

Some 750 million dollars will be required to continue the agency’s core services, which encompass education, health, and relief and social services and contribute to the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2030 Agenda.

Furthermore, 138 million dollars will be required to provide emergency humanitarian aid to the operations in Gaza and West Bank, and 277 million dollars will be required in support of the Syria Regional Crisis Emergency Appeal in Syria and for Palestinian refugees from Syria in Lebanon and Jordan, according to a statement a copy of which was obtained by Xinhua.

In 2019, Palestinian refugees will continue to face a range of daunting human development and protection challenges, UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl said in the statement.

“Central to these pressures is the way in which the ongoing occupation of the Palestinian territory and the blockade of Gaza dramatically impact the lives of Palestine refugees,he said. “The effects of violence, incursions, lack of freedom of movement and employment opportunities, as well as increasing levels of food insecurity and psychological trauma are alarming and expanding.’

In Syria, the ongoing conflict has many acute consequences for Palestinian refugees in the country and beyond, from displacement to loss of livelihoods, as well as the daily struggle to survive the immense adversity imposed by eight years of war, he added.

Krahenbuhl paid tributes to all UNRWA donor partners.

“As we faced the most severe financial challenge in our proud history, it was both humbling and inspiring to have witnessed the extent and generosity of the response from host and donor governments, from within the United Nations and NGO partners, from civil society and individuals. I wish to convey my heartfelt gratitude for this exemplary commitment and solidarity,” he said.

“One of the greatest concerns for Palestinian refugees is the current near complete absence of horizon, both political and personal. In the midst of this, it is essential to preserve the key services carried out by courageous UNRWA staff in some of the most difficult and polarized regions of the Middle East,” he added.

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