UNRWA Launches Urgent Appeal for Funds (VIDEO)

Children in Gaza pose with the flag of UNRWA. (Photo: Days of Palestine)

The Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), Pierre Krähenbühl, launched yesterday urgent appeals totaling $1.2 billion to fund basic services in 2019.

Krähenbühl described the services that need urgent funding as “vital core services and life-saving humanitarian aid for 5.4 million Palestine refugees across the Middle East,” noting these funds are needed to “keep UNRWA operations at the same level as in 2018,” the UN newsroom reporter.

In a thinly-veiled criticism of the US decision to cut funding to UNRWA, he added:

“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 by the Agency’s largest donor to cut $300 million of its contribution last year.”

At the same time, Krähenbühl paid tribute 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.”

The General Commissioner explained:

“In 2019, Palestine refugees in the West Bank, as well as in East Jerusalem, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, will continue to face a range of daunting human development and protection challenges.”

He added:

“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.”

The Commissioner-General also said:

“UNRWA, for its part, remains fully committed to maintaining its reform-mindedness and financial discipline.”

Explaining where the money will go, he said:

“Some $750 million 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 will be required to provide emergency humanitarian aid to the oPt (Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem) and $277 million will be required in support of the Syria Regional Crisis Emergency Appeal (in Syria and for Palestine refugees from Syria in Lebanon and Jordan) … Additional funding is required for priority projects, particularly the need for construction projects resulting from conflict (for example in Nahr Al-Bared in Lebanon, and Gaza), as well as initiatives designed to complete programme reforms or strengthen programme delivery.”

Krähenbühl also addressed a message to Palestine refugees and UNRWA staff:

“During the extreme crisis we faced last year, we promised to show maximum resolve and creativity. We lived up to that commitment and are proud of this.”

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

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