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Gearing up humanitarian assistance for Palestine refugees — Global Issues

“The signing of the US-UNRWA framework [for Cooperation] and further support demonstrates that we once again have a permanent partner in the United States who understands the need to provide essential assistance to some of the region’s most vulnerable refugees, ”said the UN agency’s Commissioner General , Philippe Lazzarini.

Essential funding

In April, the U.S. government restored support for UNRWA, providing an initial $ 150 million to the United Nations agency providing life-saving services to eligible registered Palestinian refugees across the Middle East.

In May, the United States also gave nearly $ 33 million in humanitarian aid to UNRWA in response to violence in the West Bank and Gaza.

UNRWA sanitation workers clean the streets of Gaza.

The additional funding will continue to support UNRWA’s core budget – the majority of which funds the operation of more than 700 schools educating more than half a million children and 140 primary health clinics providing 8.5 million consultations. patients per year.

It will also support emergency appeals for serious humanitarian issues in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

The money will be used for food, emergency cash assistance, emergency health, mental health and psychosocial support, emergency education, protection, water and sanitation and COVID-19 response.

Gaps abound

Due to the larger number of registered Palestinian refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their growing poverty, UNRWA faces an increased demand for services.

The agency is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been overtaken by growing needs.

As a result, UNRWA’s program budget, which supports the delivery of basic essential services, is operating with a large deficit.

In addition, UNRWA’s emergency programs and key projects, which also operate with large deficits, are funded through separate funding portals.

Respect for the principle of neutrality

Cooperation frameworks are the traditional mechanism by which US and international agencies establish common goals and priorities.

This latest agreement reaffirms both the commitment of UNRWA and the United States to the humanitarian principles of the United Nations, including the principle of neutrality.

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