UNRWA warns of its inability to pay the salaries of its employees next month

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) warned today, Saturday, of the possibility of its inability to pay the salaries of its employees in the month of August and the impact of the support provided to the Gaza Strip.

UNRWA spokesman Sami Mshasha told reporters in Ramallah that "the agency is facing a severe cash liquidity crisis next August, and it may reflect itself on its ability to fulfill its basic obligations to the refugees, and pay the salaries of 30,000 employees working for it."

Mushasha referred to the special appeal launched by the Agency's Commissioner-General to provide an amount of 164 million dollars to cover the expenses of the Agency and to face the repercussions of the last round of military escalation in the Gaza Strip last May.

Mashasha said that UNRWA has started the process of distributing cash assistance to those who lost their homes, and assistance in rent allowance to those who are forced to resort to apartments until their homes are reconstructed in the Strip.

He added that "the largest part of the amount required to rebuild houses that were completely destroyed and hundreds of other houses were badly damaged and need to be reconstructed again, in addition to rebuilding our destroyed facilities."

He pointed out that part of the financial support will be allocated to the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, "especially since a good number of refugees are in the Holy City, and the Agency must meet their needs."

The warning comes two days after the agency’s advisory committee held online meetings on Wednesday and Thursday, with the participation of the United States of America for the first time in 3 years.

Nearly 30 permanent member states, representatives of the Arab countries hosting Palestinian refugees, donor countries to the Agency, the European Community, and the League of Arab States participated in the meetings.

Mushasha said that the aforementioned meetings aimed to “sound the alarm regarding the financial situation of the agency, not only with regard to a cumulative financial deficit that exceeded 150 million dollars in the regular budget, but also an accumulated financial deficit in the emergency budget for Syria, Gaza and the West Bank.”

He pointed out that an international meeting will be held with Sweden and Jordan at the end of next October to "translate political support into money, expand the range of donors, and create sustainable support mechanisms."

He stated that the meeting aims to raise the level of the Agency's services and move to the concept of digitization to relieve the refugees, and that it will establish a new stage to restore health in its services in quantity and quality to Palestinian refugees.

UNRWA provides life-saving services to some 5.6 million Palestine refugees in its five fields of operation, which include Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza.


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