World Bulletin / News Desk
Budget shortfalls at the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) may delay the start of the school year in the blockaded Gaza Strip, according to an agency spokesman.
UNRWA spokesman Adnan Abu Hasana said late Saturday that the agency was urging Arab and international donors to help fill the budget gap, adding that final decisions in this regard were expected by the middle of August.
According to Abu Hasana, the financial needs of Palestinian refugees in the region are currently increasing at a rate of 6.5 percent each year while UNRWA’s budget is growing by a mere 1 percent annually.
The refugee agency needs some $100 million to fund the upcoming school year, during which some 700 schools will cater to half a million Palestinian students across the Middle East.
Last week, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on donors to make contributions to help meet UNRWA’s funding shortfall.
Earlier this year, lack of funding forced the agency to suspend scheduled payments to tens of thousands of Gazans for the repair and reconstruction of homes damaged or destroyed in last year’s Israeli military offensive against the strip.
Along with leaving more than 2,150 Gazans – mostly civilians – dead, Israel’s 51-day onslaught reduced thousands of Palestinian homes to rubble.Last Mod: 10 Ağustos 2015, 13:53