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UNRWA to suspend much-needed services in Gaza, warns spokesman

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Noor40GAZA (PNIC):-UNRWA is likely to suspend its services in the Gaza Strip and cut down budget allotted to the occupied West Bank, spokesman Sami Mashasha said.

Mashasha said in a statement that the agency succeeded in garnering new donations from old and new partners using first-time financing policies, resulting in a reduction of the financial deficit from $446 million to $217 million.

He warned, however, that UNRWA is going through the most critical stage in its history.

"The coming months will be decisive both for the agency and the registered refugees,” said Mashasha. “The agency will knock at every door and study all the possibilities to get the needed funding."

He pointed out that UNRWA has made serious efforts to protect its mandate in light of the US decision to reduce its donations.

“We will keep up our mission to protect the Palestinian refugees until their fair cause is solved. We have no other option. We are not for sale,” he said.

Mashasha announced that the agency will suspend some of its emergency services in the Gaza Strip, mainly as regards the communal psychological health program for tens of thousands of students in the enclave.

"Some of those working in the emergency program department will retain their jobs, others will switch to part-timers. Other fellows will not have their contracts renewed for the next month," he added. Rental allowances will also be cut down as a result of the financial deficit.

At the same time, the agency is expected to uphold its emergency services in the occupied West Bank and carry out amendments to the regular budget, which he said largely hinges on the US donations suspended by President Donald Trump.

Regarding the 2018-2019 academic year, Mashasha said the Commissioner-General will decide on whether to have UNRWA schools opened in August before half a million students in the enclave.

The Workers’ Union at UNRWA denounced Tuesday the “shocking news” which it said has received from the director of UNRWA operations as regards the suspension of services in the enclave.

The union called on UNRWA to backtrack on its projected cuts, calling for mass participation in a rally set to be staged on Thursday outside of UNRWA’s regional office in Gaza.

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