Spain Approves €10 million additional support to UNRWA

Madrid, MINA – The Spanish government has approved an additional assistance of 10 million euros to United National Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) to be added to Madrid’s financial support to the relief agency.

In a statement carried by the Jordan News Agency (Petra), the Spanish embassy in Amman said on Sunday that the new contribution will fund UNRWA’s social support programs for Palestinian refugees, mainly in health and education.

The embassy said that the additional financial support came in response to the US’s decision in August this year to slash the entirety of Washington’s aid to the UN agency. The US was the biggest contributor to the agency’s budget in 2017.

The statement added that the new assistance is to be added to Spain’s voluntary financial support to UNRWA, which also included 500,000 euros to fund the relief agency’s programs in Jordan, UNA reported.

UNRWA has been facing an unprecedented financial crisis this year, after the US reduced its funding to the agency by $300 million, followed by a decision of the complete cancellation of the aid provided to sustain the livelihood of millions of Palestinian refugees.

On its website, UNRWA said it is faced 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’s mandate is to provide assistance and protection to some 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with the agency across its five fields of operation: Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

In September of this year, the head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees appealed for funds to tackle an unprecedented financial crisis caused by the US scrapping its contributions.

“We still need $200 million to tackle the deficit this year,” UNRWA Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl told a news conference in Cairo.

“While UNRWA has experienced many types of [crises] since it was created… in financial terms… this is the worst crisis ever faced,” he said.(R/R04/RS5) 

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)