UNRWA said on Monday that its financial deficit in 2017 amounted to 115 million dollars, noting that no reduction will occur to the services provided to refugees but it will be forced to implement austerity measures.
Director of the UNRWA operations in the Gaza Strip, Bo Schack, said during a joint press conference with his counterpart in the West Bank, Scott Anderson, on Monday evening in Amman that the UNRWA launched an emergency appeal for 2017 worth 406 million dollars but then reduced it to 140 million dollars only due to the lack of support.
In the conference that took place during the meeting of the UNRWA advisory committee, Schack added that the UNRWA has received donations that are not at the required level and it still needs 20 million dollars.
Schack warned, according to the Jordanian newspaper al-Ghad, that the situation in Gaza is on the verge of explosion due to the ten-year blockade imposed on it, the deterioration of life conditions and the absence of solutions.
For his part, director of the UNRWA operations in the occupied West Bank, Scott Anderson, said that the UNRWA is suffering from a huge deficit in the budget that covers the services delivered.
Anderson stated that the UNRWA regular budget for 2017 is 700 million dollars to manage its operations in the five regions (Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza Strip), but, he added, the Agency currently suffers from a major financial deficit of about 115 million dollars.
He explained that the UNRWA relies on voluntary donations and that was forced to pursue an austerity policy to address its difficult financial situation without affecting the basic services in addition to expanding the donor base.
He pointed out that the UNRWA Commissioner-General urged in his report published two weeks ago the donor countries to find effective ways to address the UNRWA financial situation and presented a proposal to allocate a fixed budget for the Agency by the United Nations.
Anderson affirmed that the UNRWA is working to improve the infrastructure of the refugee camps and will rebuild 42 health centers in the West Bank during the next five years.
He noted that the houses of the camps have been worn out for decades and that there are 8,000 houses in the West Bank that need either demolition or reconstruction or restoration. He emphasized that the UNRWA presented this issue to the donor countries and is waiting for their responses.
(Source / 23.05.2017)