UNRWA warns of famine threat in northern Gaza and halts operations

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said the lack of aid is deepening the threat of famine in the northern Gaza Strip and warned that it would cease operations by the end of this February.

The decision by 16 countries to suspend support threatens to worsen the dire humanitarian needs of more than 2 million people in Gaza, the agency said.

UNRWA said in a statement that it would be difficult for Gaza residents to survive the crisis without UNRWA assistance.

In its statement, the agency suggested that if funding remained suspended it would be forced to close its operations, not just in Gaza, but in the entire region by the end of February.

UNRWA Communications Director Juliet Touma said that if the funding suspension continued, all operations not only in Gaza, but in the region, would cease by the end of the month.

israeli allegations

By continuing Israeli pressure on the agency; Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant said that UNRWA in its current form had lost the legitimacy of its existence.

Gallant told a delegation of UN ambassadors that according to his claim, international funding for the agency was invested in strengthening terrorist infrastructure and paying the salaries of terrorists.

Following Israel's allegations against several UNRWA staff, 16 countries, led by the United States, suspended their funding for the agency, a move met with widespread Palestinian and international disapproval.


A catch-up from the White House

On its part, the White House said the US administration has suspended funds allocated to UNRWA and has not terminated it.

In turn, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the UN remains an important partner, but the appalling allegations made against some UNRWA staff must be addressed, he said.

Blinken's statement came shortly before his meeting in Washington with Sigrid Kaag, the UN aid coordinator in Gaza.

Who funds UNRWA?

Belgian support continues

Meanwhile, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Petra De Stoeter said her country would continue to fund the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) because of the role the agency plays in providing humanitarian aid in Gaza. It's inevitable, as he said.

Stotter said that Brussels would continue to follow the internal investigation conducted by UNRWA regarding the allegations against it, and stressed the need for them to be transparent.

China's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Zhang Jun called for an independent investigation into the suspected involvement of UNRWA staff in the October 7 attack.

Jung stressed the need to continue providing humanitarian assistance to the Gaza Strip, stressing that the war is still ongoing, and that UNRWA represents a lifeline for Palestinians.

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