Thousands of Palestinian refugees protest against U.S. aid cut to UNRWA

Thousands of Palestinian refugees protest against U.S. aid cut to UNRWA

RAMALLAH (Rahnuma): Thousands of students attending UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) schools rallied on Wednesday in their refugee camps in the West Bank against U.S. aid cut to the agency.

The students protested in their school uniform and raised slogans demanding the sustainability of UNRWA services, including education and health to the Palestinian refugees following the sharp decline in its funding.

The UNRWA said on Monday that its deficit has been reduced from 217 million U.S. dollars to 186 million dollars after it accepted new donations.

UNRWA donors are scheduled to hold a meeting at the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meetings in New York. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is expected to take part in the meeting.

Jamal al-Khudari, chairman of the committee to defy the Israeli siege, said in a press statement that “in case the UN meetings end with no concrete steps to save the UNRWA, the next phase will be harder for the Palestinians.”

Al-Khudary stressed that more than one million of Palestinian refugees living in Gaza Strip are fully dependent on UNRWA aid, and stopping it “means a death sentence to them.”

The U.S. declared of cutting off funding to the UNRWA earlier in September.

For nearly five years, the UNRWA has been dealing with an increased financial problem due to increased demand for its services resulting from the growth in the number of registered Palestinian refugees and the deepening poverty and vulnerability.

UNRWA is the oldest and largest relief organization. It was established by the UNGA in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA.

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