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Austria donates $2.1m for UNRWA health services 

A man carries sacks of flours during a food aid distribution by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) at Al-Shati Refugee Camp in Gaza City, Gaza on January 15, 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]

Austria today pledged €1.95 million in support of UNRWA health programmes in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt).

UNRWA delivers basic health services from its 43 health centres across the West Bank. UNRWA fielded some 8.5 million patient consultations across its five fields of operation during 2018, including some one million consultations in the West Bank.

Austria’s funds will go towards ensuring adequate and timely availability of essential medicines and supplies, as well as educational materials in UNRWA health centres and clinics in the occupied Palestinian territory.

“We are grateful to the long-standing partnership with UNRWA which gives us the certainty that quality health services are provided to Palestinian refugees. In particular, we welcome the approach of the family health team as well as the urgently needed psychosocial support interventions for Palestinian refugees suffering from the current situation and status,” said Astrid Wein, Austrian representative in Ramallah.

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“On behalf of the Agency, I thank and commend the Austrian government for nearly doubling its support to UNRWA health programme thus responding to the Agency’s call for increased support for basic services it provides at a time of great needs for the Agency,” said Marc Lassouaoui, UNRWA’s chief of donor relations.

Established in 1949, UNRWA provides critical aid to Palestinian refugees in the blockaded Gaza Strip, the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

Last year, the US State Department said Washington would “no longer commit funding” to the UNRWA.

US decision to cut UNRWA funding - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

US decision to cut UNRWA funding – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

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 after 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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AustriaEurope & RussiaInternational OrganisationsIsraelMiddle EastNewsPalestineUN
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