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WFP reduces aid to Palestinians due to budget deficit

Palestinian men carry food aid given by UNRWA in Gaza City, Gaza on 15 January 2018 [Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency]
Palestinian men carry food aid given by UNRWA in Gaza City, Gaza on 15 January 2018 [Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency]

The World Food Programme (WFP) has announced it will cut food aid to about 190,000 poor Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip and occupied West Bank next year as a result of the shortage of funds, Reuters reported yesterday.

"WFP has been forced, unfortunately, to make drastic cuts to the number of people that we support across Palestine, both in Gaza and the West Bank," Reuters reported WFP Country Director Stephen Kearney saying in Jerusalem.

According to Kearney, assistance to 27,000 people in the West Bank is going to be suspend by 1 January.

In addition, food aid to 165,000 people in the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip would be cut by 20 per cent from $10 to $8 per person each month.

"The major donor that we have had in the past years has been the US. They have cut funding, not just to UNRWA, who work with the refugees in Gaza, but also to the rest of the humanitarian community, including WFP," Kearney said. The US cuts affected 40 per cent of the total WFP funding, he added.

READ: UN, Palestinians launch humanitarian appeal after funding cuts 

Earlier this year, the US State Department said Washington would "no longer commit funding" to the UNRWA.

The US had been UNRWA's largest contributor by far, providing it with $350 million annually — roughly a quarter of the agency's overall budget.

This came a month reports emerged of a secret American report stated that there are only 40,000 Palestinian refugees, noting they are the Palestinians who left their home land in 1948 and remain alive today and not their descendants.

US President Donald Trump's senior advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is reported to have tried to pressure Jordan to strip more than two million Palestinians of refugee status in a move that aims to end the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

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