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Japan to donate $5.4 million to UNRWA

Aug. 27, 2018 2:36 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 30, 2018 1:13 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The government of Japan have announced plans to provide emergency assistance to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), amid growing concerns about the agency's financial crisis.

UNRWA currently faces a budget deficit of $270 million, which would force the agency to suspend its activities by the end of September, as it could cause serious consequences regarding the humanitarian situation and will negatively affect the stability of the region.

UNRWA confirmed that the Japanese government announced it would provide assistance to the agency by the end of the week, in the amount of $5.4 million, which will be officially signed during a signing ceremony on Tuesday morning.

Japan has long been considered a valued donor to UNRWA. Since 1973, Japan has been a member of the UNRWA Advisory Commission, which advises and assists the UNRWA Commissioner-General in carrying out the agency’s mandate. In 2017, Japan has contributed a total of $43.3 million in aid.

These funds will be immediately utilized to provide food aid to about one million Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip.

UNRWA's financial crisis comes after the United States announced in mid-January the reduction of financial support to UNRWA from $350 million to $60 million, in order "to urge the Palestinians to resume negotiations with Israel."

The contributions from the U.S. made up a third of the agency's budget, according to UNRWA's website.

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