UN Palestine aid agency is ‘close to collapse’ after funding cuts

UK has cut relief grant for Palestinians by more than 50% from £42.5m in 2020 to £20.8m in 2021

The Guardian reports (5 Nov 2021) Cuts to the budget of the UN’s relief agency for Palestinians – including a halving of the UK grant – means the agency is close to collapse, the head of the agency, Philippe Lazzarini, has said. The UK has cut its core grant by more than 50% from £42.5m in 2020 to £20.8m in 2021.

Lazzarini, the commissioner general of UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), which serves Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza but also in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, said the agency was in an existential crisis due to a $100m (£74m) shortfall this year, but also because of a method of long-term funding that has proved unsustainable.

He said the mood among Palestinians was one of distress, boiling despair and hopelessness. When the UN agency is struggling financially to deliver the most essential services it creates a deep sense of abandonment, he said.

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