News

Palestinians in Lebanon protest halt in funding to UN agency

By AFP

January 30, 2024 07:23 PM


Twitter Share Facebook Share WhatsApp Share

 

Dozens demonstrated Tuesday outside the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees in Beirut against several countries' decision to suspend funding for the body after Israel charged some staff participated in Hamas's October 7 attack.

At least 12 key donor countries have said they will halt funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency following the accusations, while UNRWA has fired several employees and promised a thorough investigation into the claims.

"We are afraid for the future of UNRWA," said Palestinian refugee Abu Mohammed, 65, who attended the protest organised by Hamas in Lebanon.

"All our children study in UNRWA schools and most of our medical care is covered by the agency," he said, urging countries "to reverse their decision".

"The suspension of aid would be catastrophic from a social and humanitarian perspective," he added.

UNRWA is charged with providing humanitarian aid and protection for Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including east Jerusalem.

Tiny Lebanon hosts an estimated 250,000 Palestinian refugees, according to UNRWA, while almost double that number are registered for the organisation's services.

Most live in poverty.

"Even though I have a job, UNRWA helps me pay my rent and buy food," said Dima Dahouk, 40, a Palestinian and the sole breadwinner for her four children.

"My son who dreams of becoming an engineer had to temporarily drop out of school" to help support the family, she said.

"The situation is terrible," she added, amid a four-year economic crisis in Lebanon that has plunged most of the population into poverty.

Aid groups on Tuesday condemned the countries that suspended funding to UNRWA, pointing to a "worsening humanitarian catastrophe" and "looming famine" in Gaza.

The World Health Organization warned the funding row was distracting from the humanitarian disaster in the Palestinian territory.

Raafat al-Murra, a Hamas official in Lebanon, said the UNRWA funding crisis had "dangerous repercussions for Palestinian refugees, particularly in Lebanon, where they depend mainly on UNRWA in the absence of aid from the Lebanese state".

"We have called on the United Nations to take urgent measures... and look for more financing," he said.

Around 5.9 million Palestinians are registered with UNRWA and can access health care, social services, microfinance and emergency aid.

The deadliest-ever Gaza war was triggered by Hamas's unprecedented October 7 attack that resulted in about 1,140 deaths in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of official figures.

Israel's relentless military offensive has killed at least 26,751 people in Gaza, most of them women and children, according to the Hamas-run territory's health ministry.


AFP


Most Read

  1. Public Holiday announced in Lahore tomorrow Public Holiday announced in Lahore tomorrow
  2. Hina Rizvi ties the knot with Ammar Ahmed Khan Hina Rizvi ties the knot with Ammar Ahmed Khan
  3. Police claim girl seen in sub-inspector’s video was his second wife Police claim girl seen in sub-inspector’s video was his second wife
  4. Complete results: PML-N sweeps by-elections as PTI-SIC remains empty-handed in Punjab Complete results: PML-N sweeps by-elections as PTI-SIC remains empty-handed in Punjab
  5. Iranian First Lady visits Numl Iranian First Lady visits Numl
  6. Nazish Jahangir to hit any marriage proposal from Babar Azam out of the ground Nazish Jahangir to hit any marriage proposal from Babar Azam out of the ground

Opinion

  1. Islamabad becoming the hub of international diplomacy
    Islamabad becoming the hub of international diplomacy

    By Salim Bokhari

  2. Insights into the Pakistan Stock Exchange's Recent Record High Triumph
    Insights into the Pakistan Stock Exchange's Recent Record High Triumph

    By Zulfiqar Ali Mir

  3. IMEC to sabotage CPEC
    IMEC to sabotage CPEC

    By Dr Asif Channer

  4. 1947 TO FORM 47
    1947 TO FORM 47

    By Dr Asif Channer

  5. Beijing wants to further highlight industrial sector in its country and take scientific innovation to new heights....
    Beijing wants to further highlight industrial sector in its country and take scientific innovation to new heights....

    By Ali Ramay

  6. Global race: China will reduce its unnecessary expenses
    Global race: China will reduce its unnecessary expenses

    By Ali Ramay