UNRWA condemns trimming US aid to Palestinian refugees

The head of UNRWA – the UN agency that administers Palestinian refugees – strongly condemns the massive budget cuts by the Americans. "UNRWA commissioner Pierre Krahenbuhl says the agency is facing the worst financial crisis in its history because of America's decision to drastically reduce its financial contribution.

" Last year America provided 360 million dollars for UNRWA. This year they announced it would give 60 million dollars. So there is a difference of 300 million dollars. We need 1.2 to 1.3 billion dollars per year. This is a big enough part of what we need, "said Krahenbuhl.

American President Donald Trump announced the cuts in the UNRWA budget after the UN General Assembly voted in a majority to condemn its decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Krahenbuhl told VOA, the humanitarian fund should be linked to the performance of an organization, not because of political considerations. He said the situation was so bad in Gaza that it would get worse if there was a shortage of funds, and the needs of Palestinians were not met.

"Clearly if it is not bridged, there will be an increase in instability … because of the many other problems facing the Middle East – insecurity, radicalization and other problems. On the contrary, I think the investment to stabilize UNRWA and our ability to provide services should be the main thing everyone thinks, "added Krahenbuhl.

UNRWA has just submitted an appeal for an 800 million-dollar emergency aid to help Palestinian refugees in Gaza, and Syria. The assistance will provide urgently needed food, cash and emergency medical supplies, and support for various mental health programs and assistance for victims of gender based violence. [em/ii]