The United Nations received pledges Thursday of almost $100 million in new funding for the U.N. relief agency for Palestine after the USA slashed its aid, but it is still facing a almost $350 million shortfall this year.
For his part, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said pressure on Palestinian refugees could lead to "an explosion" and negative consequences that affect their lives and their future.
The agency, the oldest and largest United Nations relief program in the Middle East, provides health care, education and social services to an estimated 5 million Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
Last year, the US contributed more than $350 million to the refugee agency.
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The Trump administration announced in January it was withholding $65 million of a planned $125 million funding installment.
The conference is meant to support a collective response by the global community to protect the rights and dignity of some 5.3 million Palestine Refugees registered with UNRWA and ensure that the Agency's funding deficit of $446 million is urgently resolved. But the agency said the actual cut was around $300 million because the US had led the agency to believe it would provide $365 million in 2018.
"We are here because this is an organisation that is a lifeline for millions of Palestinian refugees".
Rome. 15 March, 2015: Powerful political support was expressed for UNRWA, its mandate and critical services to Palestine refugees at a ministerial conference in Rome today entitled "Preserving Dignity and Sharing Responsibility: Mobilizing Collective Action for UNRWA".
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He said Jordan, Egypt and Sweden worked with UNRWA and the European Union and in coordination with many countries to hold this conference, a call for effective action that leads to securing what UNRWA needs to continue providing its services.
The agency's commissioner-general, Pierre Krahenbehl, said in a Twitter post "Palestine Refugees deserve recognition of their rights & stable delivery of UNRWA services".
The Canadian government is pledging to contribute up to $10 million in emergency humanitarian aid for Palestinian refugees. Turkey ranks first if one takes into account national incomes.
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