Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza, Matthias Schmale
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has announced that the international organization suffers from a $1 billion deficit, warning that it might make difficult decisions in April, Anadolu Agency reported on Friday.
In an interview with Anadolu Agency, Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza, Matthias Schmale said that the UNRWA is experiencing the “worst” financial crisis to date.
Schmale warned that his organization might be forced to make difficult decisions at the end of April, relating to offering services should the crisis remain unresolved.
He noted that the annual budget needed to provide proper services in its operation areas is about $1.4 billion.
“There are annual pledges from donor countries by $400 million,” Schmale explained, noting that basic services could continue until the end of April and if all pledges were paid, the services could continue until May.
UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.6 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight.
UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty.