Emergency funds for Palestinians in Syria near empty, UN warns

Published March 30th, 2015 - 04:00 GMT

The UN agency that supports Palestinian refugees said Sunday that just four percent of its emergency work in Syria has been funded so far this year.

UNRWA spokesman Christopher Gunness said the agency needs around $250 million to fund its program, which provides cash distributions for roughly half a million Palestinian refugees affected by the war in Syria.

He claimed that if there isn’t immediate funding, the agency will have to stop running the program “in a matter of days.”

Gunness was speaking Sunday to The Associated Press from Kuwait, where an international conference will take place Tuesday to raise funds for humanitarian operations in Syria.

He said that for the more than 95 percent of refugees reliant on assistance, “it is quite literally a matter of life and death.”

According to the UNRWA website, there are 480,000 Palestinian refugees remaining in Syria after four years of civil war, more than half of whom are internally displaced. Another 59,000 registered refugees have left the country for neighboring Jordan and Lebanon. The UN agency says that one-third of its facilities in Syria are currently inoperable, due to damage or active conflict.

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