UNRWA’s office in Jordan warns of dire consequences if funding suspension continues


Published: 2024-02-13 15:12

Last Updated: 2024-04-21 10:37

UNRWA’s office in Jordan warns of dire consequences if funding suspension continues
UNRWA’s office in Jordan warns of dire consequences if funding suspension continues

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees’ (UNRWA) office in Jordan warned of dire consequences facing Palestinian refugees unless the agency is immediately funded.

This comes in the wake of funding suspensions by 16 donor countries following allegations by the Israeli Occupation against UNRWA staff in Gaza being involved in “Operation Aqsa Typhoon” by Al-Qassam Brigades on Oct. 7, 2023.

UNRWA’s field office in Jordan stated that the decision by some major UNRWA donors to freeze their contributions could deprive the agency of more than 51 percent of its expected income for 2024. This puts vital humanitarian response, healthcare, education, relief, social services, and economic support for Palestinian refugees, including those in Jordan, at serious risk.

Olaf Becker, UNRWA's Director of Affairs in Jordan, expressed deep concern among Palestinian refugees in Jordan about the suspension of UNRWA funding.

"If the current situation persists, we face uncertainty about our ability to continue providing all our services after the end of February," he said.

"UNRWA's extensive operations in Jordan, with an annual budget of around USD 145 million and approximately 7,000 staff, play a vital role in delivering essential services to Palestinian refugee communities. These harsh measures could jeopardize the operation of 161 schools serving over 107,000 students, 25 health centers providing over 1.6 million medical consultations annually, cash assistance support for 59,000 of the most vulnerable, as well as 20,000 Palestinian refugees who fled from Syria. Additionally, UNRWA is responsible for waste management in 10 official camps, where more than 400,000 people reside," he added.

He noted that UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, appealed to donor governments to "reconsider their decisions and at least ensure the continuity of UNRWA operations."

Becker emphasized that when UNRWA's future is at stake, the lives and hopes of millions of Palestinian refugees are also at stake. Investing in UNRWA means investing in regional stability. It means investing in the economic and social welfare of Palestinian refugees and advancing sustainable development goals. It means investing in supporting steadfast host countries like Jordan by helping alleviate the pressures of hosting millions of refugees. This means respecting the international community's commitment to Palestinian refugees and their rights until a fair and lasting political solution is reached.

He stressed that UNRWA relies entirely on donor contributions to ensure the continuity of its services, in accordance with its mandate towards Palestinian refugees.

"The cessation of funding will have extremely grave consequences for the Palestinian refugees we serve, and therefore, we call on our donors to reconsider their decision and resume their support for UNRWA, which is now needed more than ever," he underscored.