Thursday, June 20, 2019

World Food Programme announces aid cut for 190,000 Palestinians


By Ary Gotlib - December 21, 2018
TAGS:
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [aid] [UNRWA] [US foreign policy]

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced December 12 a cut in food aid which will affect 190,000 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, citing a funding shortfall, according to Reuters.

 
Starting January 1, the organization will suspend food assistance to 27,000 people in the West Bank, and reduce it by 20 percent to 165,000 people (from US$10 to US$8 per person each month) in the West Bank and Gaza, related The Times of Israel.
 
The UN said donations have dropped by $539 million in 2018.
 
The move follows the cutting of US aid funding to UNRWA by the Trump administration.
 
The WFP coordinator for the West Bank and Gaza, Stephen Kearney, told Reuters that the US cuts affected 40 per cent of total WFP funding.
 
“It’s not just WFP, it’s across the whole humanitarian community as donor contributions significantly fall,” Kearney noted.
 
In a statement on December 19, the UN agency said it needed another $57m to continue providing for 360,000 impoverished Palestinians in 2019, as mentioned Al Jazeera.
 
"WFP is concerned that these cuts may have a devastating effect on the food security, livelihoods and welfare of the people it serves in Palestine," the statement said.
 
People and families facing deep poverty are the one who first benefits from WFP assistance.
 
Most of them are living on less than $1 per day. These people “are unable to meet their basic food, clothing and housing needs,” noted the WFP report.   
 
In Gaza, Fawzi Barhoum, spokesman for the ruling Hamas group, urged the United Nations to “continue to provide the needs of the Palestinian people until they regain their freedom.”
 
Kearney told Reuters that underlying problems in Gaza would remain as long as the factional infighting between Hamas and Fatah continued and Israel maintained its blockade.
 
The United Nations on December 17, urged donor states to give $350 million in aid for Palestinians in 2019, saying it needed more but had to be “realistic” following US budget cuts.
 
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestine Refugees acknowledges the contribution of US$2.35 million from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in support of the Agency’s 2018 Emergency Appeal.
 
Head of China’s Representative Office in Ramallah, Guo Wei assured that “China is willing to continue supporting the work of UNRWA and provide more assistance to the Palestinian people," reported Reuters.
 
The World Bank warned in a report in September that the economy in Gaza was starting to collapse.
 
Palestinians and humanitarian workers fear the cuts will cause a vicious circle as people buy less from businesses, which in turn purchase less from suppliers.

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