UK pledges £7m for UNRWA after US cut

PNN/ Bethlehem/ 

United Kingdom Ministers have pledged to give an additional £7 million to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), days after the US decided to end its support.

Today’s announcement of additional UK aid support from the Department for International Development aims to help UNRWA keep schools open for over 500,000 children, and provide medical care for 3.5 million refugees.

Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt said:

UK aid support through UNRWA provides an essential humanitarian and stabilising force in the Middle East, educating hundreds of thousands of children every year and providing healthcare to some of the most vulnerable Palestinian refugees. Today’s UK aid package reaffirms our unequivocal support to this UN agency and the important work it does.

We are deeply concerned about the devastating impact a shortage of funds for UNRWA could cause on those that rely on its services, as well as the consequences this could have for regional stability.

Whilst today’s UK aid announcement will help to meet immediate needs, we are clear that the UK cannot act alone. For the sake of millions of Palestinians, the international community and other donors must follow our lead and step up support to UNRWA to ensure its vital services are not interrupted.

In March the UK announced that it was providing financial assistance earlier than originally planned to ensure some of the poorest Palestinians continue to receive education and healthcare. In June the UK provided an additional £10 million to help address the unexpected shortfall in funding, and meet growing beneficiary needs, particularly in Gaza.