UNRWA Takes Austerity Measures to Protect its Services

UNRWA Takes Austerity Measures to Protect its Services

Thursday, 8 March, 2018 - 13:15
United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) (logo)
Gaza - Asharq Al-Awsat
United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has recently begun austerity measures to ensure it continues with its services during the coming months in the event US administration cuts its aid.

Recently, several decisions have been made, including to stop daily employment, abolish overtime, stop travel allowance and costs, and stop buying goods and supplies except for the utmost necessity, sources at the UNRWA told Asharq Al-Awsat.

According to the sources, the decision came into force recently, and several institutions of the international organization of the UN are without security. The organization also refused to renew teachers’ contracts due to lack of funds to pay their salaries.

UNRWA also decided not to extend the employment to those who reached retirement age (60 years), as it had earlier allowed for an extension of two additional years.

The sources confirmed that UNRWA is experiencing a severe financial crisis, and that the deficit amounted to about 300 million dollars, and that all funding campaigns did not compensate the financial deficit resulting from the US decision.

The available budget would cover UNRWA services only until July or the following month.

Earlier in January, United States issued a decision to cut aid to $65 million of the original $125 million it used to donate each year.

Since US President Donald Trump took office, United States has been demanding a review of UNRWA's work and funding, and asked greater contributions from other countries because it does not want to continue to bear 30 percent of its funding. The decision was welcomed by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who previously said the organization’s services are prolonging the refugee issue.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley hinted that her country's decision was to force the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table with Israel.

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