UNRWA faces “most severe financial crisis” in recent years: UN official

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is facing the most severe financial crisis in recent years, a UN official said Wednesday.

UNRWA “will carry over 80 million U.S. dollars of its debts for the next year, which is the largest in its history,” Adnan Abu Hasna, the media advisor at UNRWA, told reporters in Gaza.

He warned that the coming year will be “difficult for UNRWA, with the increasing number of refugees and their need for vital life-saving services,” and “this should not happen to an agency of UNRWA’s size and scope of work.”

Earlier, UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini said in a video message at the end of the year to UNRWA employees and Palestinian refugees that 2022 was difficult for refugees throughout the region.

“UNRWA continues to make a difference in the lives of millions of Palestine refugees, and despite the difficult reality, it has been able to provide education to more than half a million children in more than 700 affiliated schools in the region,” Lazzarini said.

He called on the donor countries to support UNRWA with regular, sustainable funding so that the agency can continue providing its vital services to the Palestinian refugees.

UNRWA was established by UN General Assembly in 1949 with a mandate to provide assistance and protection to Palestine refugees and help them realize their full potential in human development.

The agency is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions. ■

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