UNRWA says it has run out of funds, cannot pay employees

November 11, 2020 by JNS
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The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said on Monday that it has run out of funding to pay the salaries of its staff across the Middle East.

View of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) building in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 26, 2018. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90

The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees announced that it will need $70 million by the end of the month to completely pay 28,000 staff for November and December. It called for donations in order to avoid the halt of its essential services.

“Despite all of our efforts to raise the resources needed to keep our humanitarian and development programs running, it was with great regret that I informed our staff today that we don’t have sufficient funding at this stage to honour their salaries this month,” said UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini in a statement. “If additional funding is not pledged in the next weeks, UNRWA will be forced to defer partial salaries to all staff.”

The Trump administration cut all U.S. funding to UNRWA in September 2018 due to criticism that the agency enables the Palestinian refugee issue and teaches anti-Israel material in its student textbooks.

Although President-elect Joe Biden is expected to restore funding, UNRWA officials said that the resumption would likely take months and would be “late to meet the hole in the agency’s $1.4 billion annual budget, including emergency programs for Gaza, Syria and COVID-19,” reported Reuters.


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