New funds enable UN agency to continue food assistance to Palestine refugees
On 10 February, the head of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Commissioner-General Peter Hansen, appealed to the international community not to let the West Bank and Gaza slide down on its list of priorities as the world's attention was set on Iraq. At the time, he issued a stark warning that unless immediate funding was forthcoming, UNRWA's emergency activities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip would run out of resources and come to an end by late March - including the feeding of 1.1 million people.
While the Agency remains woefully short of the $94 million needed, the new donations will enable UNRWA to continue with its essential food aid programme. The Commissioner-General said: "While we all welcome this positive development, other pressing emergency needs - shelters for refugees made homeless by shelter demolitions, bolstering of our emergency health services, and enhancing our psychosocial and other services - remain badly under-funded."
UNRWA will continue to appeal for funding to ensure that its services are not interrupted. Contingency plans have been finalized and all UNRWA staff, international and Palestinian alike, and all Agency installations, especially clinics and emergency staff, will continue to operate and deliver urgently needed services.