U.S. Announces $99 Million Funding to UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees

The Biden administration's decision comes amid a grave financial crisis for UN Relief and Works Agency, which provides essential services and care to over 5 million Palestinians across the Middle East

Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels
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Palestinians collect UNWRA foodstuffs in Gaza city following the cease-fire after the Israel-Hamas war in May.
Palestinians collect UNWRA foodstuffs in Gaza city following the cease-fire after the Israel-Hamas war in May.Credit: John Minchillo /AP
Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels

The U.S. announced Thursday it would send $99 million to the UN Relief and Works Agency, in light of a major funding crisis for the organization supporting more than five million Palestinian refugees across the Middle East 

The funds will “provide education, health care, and emergency relief to hundreds of thousands of Palestinian children and families during a time of need,” the Population, Refugees and Migrations Bureau announced.

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“The U.S. remains focused on the agency's accountability, transparency, neutrality, and stability,” they added, forecasting the Republican opposition that will likely arise from the announcement.

In November, the head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees said it was unable to pay its 28,000 employees on time this month, warning of potential cuts in vital services to millions of people amid a global pandemic.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas Greenfield last month called on Member States to “provide financial contributions to UNRWA that match its political support. As more states step up with contributions, they should also join the U.S. in urging UNRWA to establish a more sustainable financing model and adhere to humanitarian principles.”

The Biden administration announced the resumption of aid to UNRWA in April, after the Trump administration halted the U.S.' bankrolling of the organization in 2018.

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