Christian Saunders - UNRWA’s Acting Commissioner-General
UNRWA Acting Commissioner General Christian Saunders said on Monday that the financial deficit of the agency amounts to $322 million, which it needs in order to operate its essential programs and activities for Palestine refugees.
“We currently and immediately need a total of $167 million to provide the bare minimum of our services, without which we cannot survive,” said Saunders on the sidelines of UNRWA’s advisory committee opening at the Dead Sea.
Saunders said the refugee agency is currently going through the “worst financial crisis” in its history and requires $80 million monthly to survive.
He called on donor countries to fulfill their financial commitments toward the agency in order help it sustain its services for 5.5 million Palestinian refugees.
Commenting on an ongoing investigation into mismanagement allegations, the acting commissioner said the findings of the probe have proved that there is no financial corruption, stressing that the agency uses donations with “professionalism and responsibility”.
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. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA program budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall.