UNRWA gets $100 million in new aid after USA cuts


Attended by representatives from 90 countries, the meeting tackled the UNRWA's chronic funding crisis, which was exacerbated in January when the US withheld $65 million of aid to the agency.

"It is my pleasure to announce that in 2018 Italy intends to double the financial support to UNRWA-managed humanitarian activities".

The United Nations received pledges Thursday of almost $100 million in new funding for the UN relief agency for Palestinians after the United States slashed its aid, but it is still facing a almost $350 million shortfall.

Rome's donor conference was co-chaired by Jordan, Egypt and Sweden, and attended by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Foreign Policy High Representative for the European Union (EU) Federica Mogherini.

Palestinian refugees sit on sacks of flour from a United Nations distribution centre in Gaza.

He said Qatar continues to carry out its duties and responsibilities towards funding the UNRWA, and has continued to finance projects implemented by the agency, especially in the education and health sectors.

This comes after the U.S. Trump administration in January cut tens of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid for Palestinian refugees.

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Participants in Rome meeting to help fund the Palestinian refugee agency, but combined aid pledge falls $350m short.

Rami Hamdallah made his remarks at the side of an extraordinary donor conference held at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters in the Italian capital.

"If UNRWA would not exist, if these services were not provided, the security of region would be severely undermined", Guterres told reporters.

UN officials fear they might not receive any more from the United States in 2018.

Going into the meeting, UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl had warned his organisation would run out of funds in May. The new pledges gave the agency a bit more breathing room.

UNRWA operates in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, in Gaza, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.

He said UNRWA students have future aspirations and highlighted importance of the role of education in building a Palestinian society that enjoys security and dignity through social programs that have a positive and good impact on the situation of refugees.