‘It takes political mobilization, political will to prevent agency from sinking completely,’ says Philippe Lazzarini
The UN agency for Palestinian refugees is on the verge of financial collapse, the agency’s head warned on Monday.
The agency tried various methods over the last three years to solve these problems but has yet to get the needed results, Philippe Lazzarini, head of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), told reporters in Vienna.
The economic decline of the agency would mean that “the rights of Palestinian refugees will also decrease,” he explained.
“It takes political mobilization and will to prevent the agency from sinking completely,” he said.
Saying the agency has a financial deficit of close to $200 million, Lazzarini stressed the importance of food aid to Gaza, saying that $75 million is needed to continue food aid to the region, especially to the Gaza Strip, where the World Food Program has cut back on its activities.
He added that he hopes the needed financial support can be provided by this September.
The agency was founded in 1948 in the wake of the Nakba or Catastrophe, in which hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were expelled from their homes and lands after the founding of Israel. It continues to help millions of Palestinians in the blockaded Gaza Strip and Israeli-occupied West Bank with such services as education, food, and jobs.