Saudi Arabia relieves United Nations Relief and Work Agency with $35m

GMT 01:39 2015 Thursday ,13 August

Arab Today, arab today Saudi Arabia relieves United Nations Relief and Work Agency with $35m

The United Nations Relief and Work Agency

The United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA) announced Wednesday that Saudi Arabia donated 35 million U.S. dollars to relieve the organization's fiscal deficit.

An emailed UNRWA statement said that 19 million dollars will be devoted to cover the fiscal deficit, which has reached 101 million by now, adding that the rest will cover health and education projects.

The statement quoted Yousef al-Bassam, the Saudi Arabian official in Saudi's Development Fund, as saying that the urgent Saudi donations were contributed to salvage the UNRWA's fiscal crisis.

UNRWA officials warned in August that the organization may close down 700 schools as well as postpone the scholastic year in these schools due to the acute fiscal deficit the UNRWA is experiencing.

The statement also quoted al-Bassam as saying that "it will be disastrous if over half a million Palestinian students are deprived of education," urging additional donors to fulfill their commitments to the UNRWA.

However, senior UNRWA officials continue to warn that if the agency doesn't cover its fiscal deficit, the possibility of postponing the school year and closing the 700 schools in the Middle East remains.

Rami Hamdallah, Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) consensus government, unveiled Tuesday that the UNRWA will forgo its fiscal deficit within days.

UNRWA officials warned over the past couple of weeks that the organization will resort to severe cuts in services offered to Palestinian refugees, mainly scholastic.

After addressing an urgent letter to UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon last week, UNRWA officials said the decision to reduce services will be definite until mid-August, only in the event the UNRWA doesn't cover its deficit.

Hamdallah said in a press statement that efforts exist to guarantee that the school year starts on time in all 700 schools run by the UNRWA, adding that "Palestinian leadership efforts to resolve the crisis were fruitful."

The Palestinian premier asserted that coordination with the UNRWA is ongoing, referring to efforts exerted by the UNRWA and the Palestinian leadership to contain the crisis, rectify it and guarantee the rights of Palestinian refugees.

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