Mideast: UNRWA can't pay December wages

Services for Palestine refugees at risk, USD 36 mn budget gap

20 November, 18:28

    (ANSAmed) - NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 20 - The UN has announced it will not be paying wages next month to thousands of workers in the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) due to a growing financial crisis.

    Undersecretary General Jeffrey Feltman told the Security Council on Tuesday that the body had a budget gap of some 36 million dollars and was in a "terrible" situation. The head of the agency, Filippo Grandi, had warned the previous week of the impending danger. Feltman said that ''UNRWA will be unable to adequately fund its core services... and will be unable to pay December salaries of its 30,000 teachers, medical personnel and social workers.'' UNRWA is one of oldest UN agencies, created in 1950 to help Palestinians (about 750,000 at that time) who had lost their homes after the 1948 war and the proclamation of the State of Israel. It currently provides assistance to some five million people in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, and Syria. The US and the EU have traditionally been UNRWA's biggest donors to its two-year budget of more than 1.2 billion dollars. General Commissioner Grandi had said last week that, for the first time ever, UNRWA was working in an emergency situation in every location it provides services.(ANSAmed).

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