UN agency hails Qatar's financial aid for Palestinian refugees

Source: Xinhua| 2018-04-02 19:36:48|Editor: Zhou Xin
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GAZA, April 2 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said on Monday that Qatar's recent donations have helped the agency continue its services for Palestinian refugees.

"With its unprecedented pledge of 50 million U.S. dollars to UNRWA at a recent ministerial conference in Rome, Qatar will become one of UNRWA's top donors and will have a major impact on the Agency's ability to continue its vital services to the vulnerable Palestinian refugee community during this period of dramatic financial crisis," UNRWA said in a statement.

Qatar made the largest pledge at a UNRWA extraordinary ministerial conference on March 15, which the statement said will safeguard Palestinian refugee children's access to education in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon for the remainder of the current academic year as well as other core and essential services UNRWA provides to Palestinian refugees in the Middle East.

UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl also expressed gratitude to Qatar, applauding the Gulf country for translating its political commitment into action and for its support to the Palestinian refugee community in the region.

"The partnership between UNRWA and Qatar has been developing for years and with this unprecedented donation will now enter a new phase, with a significant focus on education, including emergency education, particularly in Syria and Gaza," the statement said.

In January, the U.S. decided to slash its 2018 contribution to UNRWA from 125 million dollars to 65 million dollars.

It also said it will not provide the 45 million dollars in aid it pledged in December.

More than five million registered Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip will suffer if the agency is shut down or financial aid suspended.

In Gaza alone, which has been under a tight Israeli blockade since 2007, UNRWA takes care of some 1.2 refugees living in eight camps.