UNRWA is on the verge of disaster — Lazzarini

(Photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — “We are standing at a crossroads, on the verge of a disaster,” UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini was quoted as telling the Swedish online magazine OmVärlden on Monday by AmmanNet.اضافة اعلان

According to Lazzarini, the situation is now worse than it has ever been.

“We are on the verge of collapse, no doubt about this, we are now in a position where we cannot afford the increased costs,” he added.

Lazzarini said that part of the frustration among Palestinian refugees is directed at UNRWA, whose premises have been vandalized in Lebanon, where the economic situation is extremely difficult, and where there are daily protests outside the UNRWA offices.

“People are in dire need of help and turn to us, however, because of our financial situation, we cannot meet their demands, so they turn their anger at us. We may have to temporarily close many of our centers for security reasons,” Lazzarini said.

He added that UNRWA is funded through individual grants from various countries; the annual budget amounts to just over $1.6 billion, with half going to meeting basic support. The European Union, the US, the United Kingdom and Sweden are major donors.

Lazzarini added that in Israel and several other states, there are voices questioning UNRWA’s presence, and critics say financial support for Palestinian refugees threatens to contribute to perpetuating the Palestinian refugee issue for generations.

He said he sees the conflict in Palestine and Israel as one of the longest in our recent history, but finds it difficult to see that UNRWA contributes to the crisis.

“The solution could not be to pretend that there are no problems, in the absence of a political settlement as I see it, there is no alternative to the service we provide, if someone else is going to play our part, one has to ask who will do it,” said Lazzarini.

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