UNRWA Announces Reduction of International Personnel

Palestinian refugees. Image Source: Luciano, Flickr, Creative Commons.

Palestinian refugees.
Image Source: Luciano, Flickr, Creative Commons.

Occupied Territories, Palestine (IMEMC) – Today UNRWA announced that 85 per cent of all 137 international personnel on short term contracts will be separated in a phased process which will last until the end of September.

35 per cent of the 137 internationals will see their contracts end in the coming four weeks. Another 50 per cent will end by 30 September without further extension or renewal. UNRWA is taking this measure to reduce costs as much as possible without reducing services to refugees.

UNRWA has a deficit to the end of the year of 101 million USD and we will continue with our robust efforts in resource mobilisation.

As things currently stand, with stringent austerity measures already in place beyond today’s announcement, the Agency should be able to continue with life-saving services to the end of the year. These include our health programmes, relief and social services, sanitation and emergency projects for which we have funds.

UNRWA’s school system for half a million children across the Middle East in Jordan, Lebanon, the occupied Palestinian territory and Syria are essential but some difficult decisions may be needed in coming weeks if the deficit is not filled.

christopher gunness | spokesperson, director of advocacy and strategic communications
unrwa | office of the commissioner general | jerusalem
t: +972 2 589 0267 | m: +972 54 240 2659 | f: +972 2 589 0240
e: c.gunness@unrwa.org | skype: chrisrobertgunness l Twitter: @ChrisGunness

Editor’s note: It should be noted that the prior to this effort, the organization was already sorely underfunded and undermanned. The UNRWA handles the administration of refugee camps across the Middle East where over 5 million Palestinians live. To put that into perspective, there will soon be about 1 international worker in the UNRWA for each 100,000 Palestinian refugees. Although the UN is stating that there won’t be a cut in services, the elimination of 85% of international workers will cause a massive deficit in the availability of education, medical, and other services. With the recent rash of Israeli aggression, it is highly likely that the UN’s cutbacks just bolstered the membership of the militant brigades operating inside the occupied territories.