Statement on UNRWA Funding Suspension

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On Friday, January 26, the United States, followed by several other countries, suspended funding to UNRWA due to Israeli allegations that some members of the organization’s staff in Gaza participated in the attacks in Israel on October 7, 2023. The agency took immediate steps to hold staff accountable and launched an investigation.

The UN Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) is the primary agency coordinating relief efforts in Gaza. The pause in some 70% of its funding, therefore, poses a significant threat to addressing the humanitarian crisis in the war-torn territory just as more than three-quarters of the population is displaced and 80% is experiencing famine or catastrophic hunger.

Though the suspension of funding does not directly impede Anera’s work, we often work side-by-side with UNRWA. Our organizations sometimes coordinate logistics, as we do with many other stakeholders delivering aid, and serve some of the same families.

Anera and other organizations delivering relief in Gaza will continue to work, but UNRWA’s role is too significant to replace. Such a serious reduction in funds may lead to a total breakdown of already limited humanitarian assistance – not just in Gaza, but also in the West Bank, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. UNRWA reports that, should the necessary funding not come, the agency will likely have to stop operations after February.

Anera, along with other humanitarian organizations, urges reconsideration of the funding suspensions to prevent deepening the grave humanitarian crisis impacting 2.3 million people in Gaza.

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