International donors pledge $130 million to UNRWA

International donors pledge over $130 million to the United Nations agency helping Palestinian refugees, an amount the organization’s head says is encouraging but not enough to keep operations running through the end of the year.

The UN Relief and Works Agency has faced a financial crisis since the United States pulled all funding in 2018, leaving the organization with a massive budgetary shortfall.

Agency Director-General Philippe Lazzarini tells reporters following a virtual fundraising conference that despite the “very strong expression of support” by international donors “we are still in the dark and we do not know if our operations will run until the end of the year.”

He says the donations cover only a fraction of the roughly $400 million budget gap the agency is facing.

Lazzarini says there was no intention at this time to cut any of UNRWA’s core services, but “in reality, there is nothing left to cut without impacting the scope and the quality of the services.”


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