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UN agency for Palestinians warns of cuts ahead

By AFP - Jul 11,2018 - Last updated at Jul 11,2018

OCCUPIED Jerusalem — The UN agency for Palestinian refugees has warned that cuts to key programmes in the Gaza Strip and occupied West Bank are planned over the coming weeks if a US funding freeze cannot be overcome.

Figures were not yet available on the cuts being planned if the major gap in financing is not resolved, but a letter sent to agency staff highlights areas targeted.

A source familiar with the plans described the areas expected to be affected in further detail, saying they included employment programmes, housing assistance and mental health support, among others.

Most of the cuts were expected in the West Bank. Some programmes were due to run out of funds by the end of July, according to the source.

The letter said the agency, known as UNRWA, would work to maintain vital food assistance programmes, particularly for the impoverished Gaza Strip. 

But the source said those too could face reductions in the coming months if additional financing was not found.

UNRWA head Pierre Krahenbuhl said in the letter to staff that he had called on donors that had already helped out with pledges to assist further so the agency could “overcome the rest of the shortfall”, currently at $217 million.

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