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UNRWA seeks $1.6 bn from international community in 2022

January 18, 2022 at 8:24 pm

United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini holds a press conference at al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City on October 12, 2021 [MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images]

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) announced, on Tuesday, that it is seeking $1.6 billion in 2022 from the international community.

In a statement, a copy of which was sent to MEMO, the UNRWA said: “The funding will fulfil the mandate of the United Nations General Assembly to provide millions of Palestine refugees vital, lifesaving services and programs, including education, health and food assistance.”

The statement added: “The request includes additional emergency funding for UNRWA to address the humanitarian needs arising from crises in Gaza, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) Syria and Lebanon.”

UNRWA Commissioner-General, Philippe Lazzarini, said: “The international community recognises the lifesaving role of UNRWA and its indispensable contribution to stability in the Middle East. It also recognises how cost-efficient and agile UNRWA is.”

Lazzarini added: “In 2022, that recognition must be supported by the adequate level of funding to meet this critical moment for Palestine refugees.”

He continued: “Chronic Agency budget shortfalls threaten the livelihoods and well-being of the Palestine refugees that UNRWA serves and pose a serious threat to the Agency’s ability to maintain services.”

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The statement stated that the 2022 budget proposal “comes as UNRWA confronts a chronic funding shortfall that undermines its effort to provide humanitarian and human development support to some of the world’s most vulnerable refugees, whose needs keep increasing.”

It also said that “COVID-19 continues to pose serious health risks and exacerbate economic hardships across the region, with now an estimated 2.3 million Palestine refugees living in poverty. UNRWA is their only remaining lifeline.

“Distress and despair have become the norm among Palestinian refugees, where many in Gaza, Syria and Lebanon report their readiness to use any means to try to migrate outside of the region.”