United Nations Relief and Works Agency, the United Nations aid agency, in charge of taking care of the Palestinian refugees has warned refugees in Gaza that it cannot guarantee them food distribution for the rest of the year. It’s all thanks to the Trump’s administration, since the United States cut massive funding to the agency.
The agency which provides education, medical care and emergency assistance to refugees living in dire conditions is facing a shortfall by almost one-third of its budget; because President Donald Trump decided to hold back much of its funding. The U.S. transferred only 60 million to the agency, while the plan was originally for them to send a 125 million dollar payment.
“Last year, the US provided $364m. This year it has announced only $60m,”said Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt, adding that the money that Washington agreed to provide this year could not be spent helping Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Syria. He also said the agency has faced funding crisis earlier as well “but this is the biggest and most severe in our history.”
UNRWA was expecting a further $225 million this year, but it fears it may end up with nothing. The agency which supports 5.3 million people, almost 400,000 inside Syria may suffer from the funding cuts.
Concerns about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza and its potential to prompt conflict with Israel are on the rise.
“We are safe for the first couple of months in the year, but if we don’t get these shortfalls made up by either the Americans changing their minds or new money coming in during the second half of the year. We will have to face some difficult decisions,” said UNRWA Gaza director Matthias Schmale.
Last year, Trump strengthened Israel’s control over Jerusalem after declaring Jerusalem as Israel's capital and defending the Jewish state’s illegal occupation of East Jerusalem, where Palestinians have always wanted to establish their own capital.
After the commander-in-chief stopped funding last year, many criticized it as a deliberate U.S. effort to deny the Palestinians their rights, linking it to Trump’s widely criticized decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Thumbnail/Banner Image: Reuters, Ibraheem Abu Mustafa