Head of UN relief agency for Palestinian refugees makes urgent
plea for funds
Palestine, Economics, 12/7/2000
The head of the UN relief agency for Palestinian refugees
Wednesday an urgent appeal for operating funds to cope
deteriorating social and economic conditions in the occupied
"We are dealing with very large numbers of people who
disabled," said Peter Hansen, the Commissioner-General
of the UN
Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the
(UNRWA). "We are dealing with a great deal of destruction
infrastructure in the area, and at the same time we are
question of how can we go on with an organization that
for the welfare and education of the 3.8 million refugees
in the area
when we don't even know how we are going to make it through
Speaking to reporters at a press briefing in New York,
Hansen said he
had recently appealed to donors for full funding of UNRWA's
modest and meager budget" of $311 million for next year.
pledges worth $38 million, which means we have a very
long way to go,"
the Commissioner-General pointed out.
On the positive side, Hansen reported that the Agency's
$39.8 million in emergency funding to deal with the latest
largely been met, demonstrating donor readiness to respond
developments. "As usual, it has turned out to be easier
short-term emergencies than it is to finance the basic
work that we
have been mandated by the international community to do,"
He also noted that the refugee population was increasing
by 5 per cent
every year, and stressed that resources must keep pace
On the current conditions in the West Bank and Gaza, Hansen
Palestinians there were in "very bad shape" because their
movement had been completely limited. "Many people have
of their work opportunities in Israel or elsewhere within
territories, and basically whatever meager savings people
had has now
run out," he said.