Northern calls on the international community to support UNRWA and renew its mandate

Matthias Shamali, director of operations for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in the Gaza Strip, on Wednesday called on the international community to work to cover the financial deficit of the United Nations to continue to provide services to refugees.

He told reporters in Gaza that the financial crisis amounted to about $ 120 million, including $ 30 million allocated to the food aid program for refugees in Gaza only, warning of the danger of interruption or the inability of UNRWA to continue its work.

He pointed out that UNRWA has succeeded in the recent period in securing food aid, despite the great financial crisis, noting that there is a state of concern for the future of this assistance during the end of this year.

"Failure to cover this deficit may make it difficult to provide a new batch of food aid," he said.

He said that the General Assembly of the United Nations will raise during its ongoing meetings since yesterday, the issue of UNRWA, hoping to reach an agreement on bridging the financial deficit.

He stressed that the situation experienced by UNRWA is frightening, especially with the cessation of US support and change the United States political approach to the issue of refugees and UNRWA, considering that this threat represents greater concerns than those related to the financial crisis.

He expressed his hope that the mandate of UNRWA, which is granted every three years, will be renewed, pointing out that there are countries that support it, and the decision on the mandate will be in the session that will start in mid-November, and is expected to take the decision on the first of December next.

He stressed that UNRWA welcomed any support from the Arab countries to contribute to the resolution of the financial crisis, noting that this does not mean that UNRWA will become the responsibility of the Arab countries.

On the issues of corruption in UNRWA, the Director of its operations in Gaza confirmed that an investigation team has been formed and is still working, amid great cooperation with the Commission by all parties.

Despite the current circumstances, he praised UNRWA's success in opening the school season, the continuation of 22 health centers to serve the residents of the Gaza Strip, and the opening of a large warehouse to store food in Rafah.

Northern warned of the explosion of the situation in the Gaza Strip despite the relative calm, pointing out that there is a state of boiling in Gaza because of the political and economic situation.

"We have received reports of patients visiting the health centers, indicating a rise in cases of psychological crises among citizens," he said. He pointed out that about 30% of the reviewers of the clinics of the Agency complain of psychological pressure, and many of them suffer from frustration and stress.

He believed that the lack of improvement could lead to an increase in those ratios.


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