UN appeals for reduced funds for Palestinians amid US cuts
RAMALLAH, West Bank - The United Nations urged donor states to give $350 million in aid for Palestinians in 2019, saying it needed more but had to be "realistic" following swathing US cuts.
The UN said the appeal, down from $539 million in 2018, was due to a lack of available donor funds across the globe.
It aims to support 1.4 million Palestinians through more than 200 projects.
The United States has announced it will cut almost all of its aid to Palestinians, having previously provided around $500 million a year through different mechanisms including the UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA.
The appeal for funds, called the Humanitarian Response Plan and done in conjunction with Palestinian authorities, received in the past $100 million in US funding.
Jamie McGoldrick, UN humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories, said due to a lack of donors the UN had to be more "realistic" when asking for funds.
"We have taken this humanitarian response plan to the most focused and prioritised it could possibly be," he said at the launch of the appeal in the city Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.
The majority of the funds will go to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, where two million Palestinians live crammed into a small territory under an Israel blockade, with more than two thirds relying on aid.
With its economy in a free fall and tensions with Israel rising, Gaza is imploding, UN envoy for the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov warned in October.
Last year the UN appeal received only $220 million of the funds requested.
Areas that have seen major decreases in funding include water, food security and shelter, UN officials said.