United Nations gets $100M for Palestinians but still short

Canada promises millions for Palestinian relief

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The European Union announced on Thursday its contribution of €82 million for the 2018 operating budget of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

For his part, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said pressure on Palestinian refugees could lead to "an explosion" and negative consequences that affect their lives and their future. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians either fled or were forced from their homes during the war that led to Israel's establishment in 1948.

Cutting sanitation, health care and medical services in already poverty-wracked and conflict-ridden areas "would have severe impacts - a cascade of problems that could push the suffering in disastrous and unpredictable directions", he warned.

The Trump administration announced in January it was withholding $65 million of a planned $125 million funding installment.

The U.S. had been UNWRA's largest donor, supplying almost 30 percent of its budget.

UNRWA continues to face a budget shortfall of $350 million for 2018 even after the latest funding pledges. He said the agency went into 2018 with a $146 million shortfall that ballooned to $446 million without the anticipated US funds.

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Echoing many participants in today's event, Ayman Safadi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Jordan, told the conference that Jordan, which plays host to over two million Palestine refugees, believed the case or bridging UNRWA's deficit was overwhelming "UNRWA needs to deliver vital services to the Palestinian refugees, and this is an global political, legal, ethical and humanitarian responsibility".

"Today's announcement of new and exceptional emergency funding will provide humanitarian assistance to help meet the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable Palestinian refugees in the West Bank and Gaza".

"The message to the Palestinian refugees has to be that they are not forgotten", he said.

Rome. 15 March, 2015: Powerful political support was expressed for UNRWA, its mandate and critical services to Palestine refugees at a ministerial conference in Rome today entitled "Preserving Dignity and Sharing Responsibility: Mobilizing Collective Action for UNRWA".

The Canadian government is pledging to contribute up to $10 million in emergency humanitarian aid for Palestinian refugees.

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