This article from a prominent Palestinian Arab publication is indicative of the fact that UNRWA expects to hit a funding crisis in the near future. See the postings in the October 3rd issue for more backgrounders on the subject. We thank Dr. Aaron Lerner of IMRA for calling our attention to this piece. – DB

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said it would have to significantly cut back on aid to more than half of refugees in the occupied Palestinian territory because of severe budget shortfalls.

It said it would have to slash its assistance because donors were not providing the necessary funds.

Speaking at a meeting in the Jordanian capital, Amman, UNRWA’s Commissioner-General Peter Hansen said that the lack of response by donors to the emergency appeal the agency made earlier in the year will mean not meeting even half of the refugee’s needs.

So far, the UN body managed to get less than half of the money it sought to get from donor countries, which is around $40 million-$31 million coming from the United States. UNRWA had appealed to the international community in June for $103 million to alleviate the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

As a result, the UN body was able to implement only 12% of its program aimed at providing shelter to thousands of homeless Palestinians whose houses have been demolished by Israel.

UNRWA will also be forced to scale back education, health and food distribution programs.

The agency’s emergency job program, which targets unemployed Palestinians – now more than half of the Palestinian workforce-managed to create only 23% of the planned work days.

This article appeared in “The Jerusalem Times” (Palestinian Arab Weekly) 10 October 2003