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UNRWA says it faces $100m funding shortage for 2022

Recent pledges only enough to continue operations until September — Lazzarini

By Batool Ghaith - Jun 26,2022 - Last updated at Jun 26,2022

A view of Jerash camp for Palestine refugees (Photo courtesy of UNRWA)

AMMAN — The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is entering a “danger zone” due to a $100 million budget shortage for 2022, according to the agency’s spokesperson.

UNRWA Spokesperson Tamara Al Rifai told The Jordan Times that UNRWA’s annual core budget for programmes like health, education and social protection is $817 million for 2022.

“Until now, between what UNRWA has already received and what is expected to be received, including the amounts which were announced at the pledging conference in New York last week, we expect a shortage of more than $100 million this year,” Rifai said.

While donors pledged about $160 million for UNRWA during the pledging conference in New York last week, Rifai warned that if the required funds are not raised, it will be very difficult to maintain all the services for Palestinian refugees.

“The UN member states who gathered at the UNRWA pledging conference recognised that UNRWA is irreplaceable and that services should not and cannot be interrupted,” she added.

Rifai said that UNRWA is calling for funding and financial resources that are equal to the political recognition the agency receives.

“Political support is huge but we need matching funding,” Rifai continued.

According to UNRWA, the organisation still needs over $100 million to support education for more than half a million children, to offer primary healthcare for around two million people and to provide emergency cash assistance to the poorest refugees.

UNRWA Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini said during a press conference on Thursday that the pledges will enable UNRWA to run its operations through September.

“I do not know if we will get the necessary cash to allow us to pay the salaries after the month of September,” he said.

“We are in an early warning mode,” Lazzarini said. 

“We have to avoid a situation where UNRWA is pushed to cross the tipping point, because if we cross the tipping point that means 28,000 teachers, health workers, nurses, doctors, engineers, cannot be paid,” he added. 

 

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