UNRWA Commissioner: We are on the brink of a precipice due to the Agency´s unprecedented financial crisis

The Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), Philip Lazarini, warned today, Thursday, that the agency is "on the brink of an abyss" due to its unprecedented financial crisis.

Lazzarini said during a press conference held in Gaza City that, for the first time in the history of UNRWA, it does not have the necessary funding to cover its expenses for the end of this year, including paying the salaries of its employees for this month.

He stressed that "to avoid the fall of UNRWA, the international community must translate the agency's political support into real, urgent financial pledges that allow the continuation of the necessary services for the Palestinian refugees."

Lazzarini announced that he is calling for an international donor conference early next year to search for a sustainable financial budget for UNRWA and to ensure the continuation of its services without interruption.

He stressed that international support for UNRWA, both politically and financially, is "an investment in stability and security in the Middle East until a political solution to the Palestinian refugee issue is available."

He pointed out that the intensification of the financial crisis of UNRWA comes at a time when 28 thousand Agency employees are on the front lines facing the crisis of the new Coronavirus.

Lazarini said that the current UNRWA crisis is totally different from previous years, given that the resources available to it do not cover the spending in light of a reality in which the needs of the Palestinian refugees are increasing.

The UNRWA Commissioner expressed his hope for "resuming the strategic partnership" between the agency and the United States in the near future, following the recent election of Democratic candidate Joe Biden in the presidential elections.

UNRWA faces a "most serious financial crisis" in its history due to the severe shortage of donations to it, especially after the American decision to cut $ 360 million from the agency two years ago, which was 30 percent of its budget that depends entirely on donations.

UNRWA provides life-saving services to about 5.6 million Palestine refugees in its five fields of operation that include Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.


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