World Food Programme Cuts Aid for Palestinians

Occupied Jerusalem, MINA – The World Food Programme (WFP) has suspended or reduced aid for scores of its Palestinian beneficiaries in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip due to funding shortages. 

Some 27,000 Palestinians are no longer receiving aid through the United Nations programme since January 1 in the occupied West Bank, said Stephen Kearney, the organization’s director for the Palestinian territories, PIC reported, Monday (14/1).

Another 165,000, including 110,000 in Gaza, are receiving 80 percent of the usual amount, he said on Sunday. The cuts were decided upon after a gradual reduction in donations over the past nearly four years, with US cuts having the biggest effect. 

In 2018, the WFP assisted 250,000 people in Gaza and 110,000 in the West Bank. The WFP launched a funding appeal on December 19 and received additional contributions from the European Union and Switzerland, but the amount remains short, Kearney said. It said at the time that it was in need of $57m. 

It will now seek contributions from new donors in an effort to fill the gap, he said. Kearney said there were also concerns that the cuts would affect the local economy since residents used the cards to buy goods in local stores. 

In the Gaza Strip, around 80 percent of the two million residents rely on international aid. The strip has been under an Israeli blockade for more than a decade. 

Israel has launched three military offensives on the territory since 2008. US President Donald Trump has cut some $500m in Palestinian aid.(R/R04/P2) 

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)