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Aid for Palestinian refugees kept up as US turns its back

THE commissioner of the UN’s Palestinian aid agency UNRWA, Pierre Kraehenbuehl, said yesterday that Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and India have stepped up funding in recent months amid swingeing US cuts.

Mr Kraehenbuehl welcomed this “very high amount” of $238 million (£185.5m) in extra funding but he reiterated his disappointment with the US Trump administration’s announcement last week that it is cutting all funding for the agency, after partial cuts announced earlier this year.

Despite the new contributions, the commissioner confirmed that the funding situation remains “critical” and more than $200 million is needed this year to sustain operations.

The new commitments, including from Turkey and some other European countries, followed the US announcement in January to cut its contribution to just $60 million this year, down from $360 million a year ago.

UNRWA tweeted yesterday: “48,000 Palestine refugee students returned to their UNRWA schools in Syria despite their uncertain circumstances.”

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