UN Palestinian aid agency warns cuts may force shutdown

AFP , Thursday 1 Feb 2024

The UN aid agency for Palestinian refugees said Thursday that international funding cuts may force the shutdown of its operations across the region "by the end of February".

File Photo: United Nations and Red Crescent workers prepare the aid for distribution to Palestinians at UNRWA warehouse in Deir Al-Balah, Gaza Strip. AP


Several major donor countries to UNRWA said they would suspend funding after Israel alleged 12 agency employees took part in Hamas's 7 October Al-Aqsa Flood operation.

UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini said that "if the funding remains suspended, we will most likely be forced to shut down our operations by end of February not only in Gaza but also across the region".

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said after talks with Lazzarini that he "emphasised the immediate need for the international community to support UNRWA, which plays an indispensable role for Palestinian refugees, serving as a lifeline for over two million Palestinians facing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in Gaza".

A foreign ministry statement in Amman said that both Safadi and Lazzarini urged countries that have suspended aid to UNRWA to "reconsider their decision".

"Any reduction in financial support provided to the agency will exacerbate the suffering of the people of Gaza, who are already on the brink of mass starvation," the statement said.

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