U.N., Palestinians Launch Aid Appeal After Funding Cuts

RAMALLAH (Reuters) -

The United Nations and the Palestinian Authority appealed on Monday for $350 million in aid for Palestinians next year, saying much more was needed but they had to be realistic after a year of funding cuts.

The 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan focused on Palestinians most in need of food, healthcare, shelter, water and sanitation, said Jamie McGoldrick, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator in the Gaza Strip, Yehudah and Shomron and east Yerushalayim.

Donations were down in many areas around the world, he said. But local aid work took a particularly hard hit this year when the United States ended funding for the U.N. agency that helps 5 million people listed as Palestinian refugees.

“Humanitarian actors are faced with record-low funding levels of this year, at the same time we face massive and increasing needs,” McGoldrick said.

“We will be able to assist fewer people this year, 1.4 million people are being targeted as opposed to 1.9 million last year.”

He said agencies faced many difficulties, including the politicization of aid by “political forces which are using aid or tampering with aid” and attacks on their work by those intent on “delegitimizing some of the work of the humanitarian actors.”

More than three quarters of the funds sought would go to Gaza, the appeal organizers said, because the densely populated coastal strip faced a “dire humanitarian situation.”