UNRWA: The pending support exceeds half of the 2024 income

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Olaf Becker, official of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), told the Jordanian region that the agency’s funding, suspended as of Thursday, represents 51 percent of its income for the year 2024.

This came in an interview with Baker regarding the repercussions of several countries suspending their funding to the UN agency following allegations that its employees participated in the attacks last October 7 on settlements around Gaza.

Baker added, “The temporary suspension of funds from several donor countries currently represents 51 percent of our expected income for 2024.”

He noted that the suspension of funding “does not only affect our operations in Gaza, where UNRWA is the main provider of humanitarian aid to two million people.

“It also affects the services we provide in all five regions of our operations, including Jordan.”

He explained, “Jordan hosts the largest number of Palestinian refugees in the region, and UNRWA has about 2.4 million registered refugees here, and therefore it is the second center for operations after Gaza.”

He stressed that the agency has “more than 6,000 employees in Jordan, and we provide primary education to more than 100,000 students in 161 schools affiliated with us.”

He continued: “We also have 25 health centers that provide more than 1.5 million medical consultations annually, in addition to providing cash assistance (the value of which was not specified) to about 60,000 of the most vulnerable refugees.

Out of more than 400,000 refugees residing in UNRWA camps in Jordan.”

The UNRWA official in Jordan added: “Unfortunately, if the situation remains as it is, we will likely not be able to continue providing these services after the end of February.”

He pointed to “the recent statements of the Commissioner-General (of the UN agency, Philippe Lazzarini), that if nothing changes, we will not be able to provide services after February, and for this reason we appeal to donor countries to resume funding UNRWA as soon as possible.”

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According to agency data, the total US support during 2022 amounted to about $344 million, representing 29.3 percent of the total support that UNRWA received in that year.

In the same year, total international support for the agency amounted to about $1.17 billion, representing 75 percent of the total amount needed by UNRWA in 2022.

After the United States, Germany comes in second place as the largest supporter of the UN agency, with a total of $202 million, representing 17.3 percent of the total support.

This means that Israel’s two allies constitute 46.6 percent of the agency’s total annual support, while the remaining percentage (53.4 percent) is distributed among 96 international donors or supporting institutions.

As of last January 30, 18 countries and the European Union had decided to suspend their funding to UNRWA based on Israel’s allegations that 12 of the agency’s employees participated in the Hamas attack on October 7, 2023, on Israeli settlements adjacent to Gaza.

These countries are: the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, Italy, Britain, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, New Zealand, Iceland, Romania, Estonia, Sweden, in addition to the European Union, according to the United Nations.

Following these allegations, UNRWA said that it had opened an investigation into allegations of the involvement of a number of its employees in attacks carried out by Hamas last October 7 on Israeli military points and settlements adjacent to the Gaza Strip.

During which about 1,200 Israelis were killed, about 5,431 were wounded, and at least 239 were captured.

UNRWA was established by a decision of the United Nations General Assembly in 1949, and was authorized to provide assistance and protection to refugees in its five areas of operations: Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip until a just solution to their problem is reached.