UNRWA to Delay Opening 700 Schools due to Cash Shortage

UNRWA said that it only has enough money to maintain its basic services. (IRIN)

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) held an extraordinary meeting for its consultative committee in Amman on Sunday to discuss its financial crisis, Jordan’s Al-Sabeel newspaper has reported.

The agenda included the increasing dangers caused by the probable delay of the start of the school year due to a budget deficit estimated at $101 million. If this happens, around half a million Palestinian refugee children studying in 700 schools across the Middle East will not go back to their studies in September.

According to Al-Sabeel, the committee discussed a special report prepared for submission to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and all 193 UN member states. It explains the repercussions of UNRWA’s budget deficit for this year. It also explains the plans adopted by UNRWA which are expected to be implemented as an alternative measure in case the financial crisis is not resolved.

In the report, UNRWA said that it only has enough money to maintain its basic services, such as running healthcare centres, offering vaccinations, providing primary healthcare services and a number of other urgent provisions, until the end of 2015.

The agency called on all donors, partners and UN member states to resume their funding in order to be able to open schools on time for the new academic year and not to lose this valuable investment in Palestinian refugees. Education is considered to be UNRWA’s most successful project in the Middle East. It noted that maintaining a continuous education process is a question of dignity, rights and regional stability.


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