Less Free Food for Gaza, PA Arabs

Trucks loaded with food supplies at a Gaza crossing. (Abed Rahim Khatib /Flash90)

Arab recipients of free food in Gaza and Palestinian Authority-controlled areas will be getting less of it beginning in 2019. The World Food Program will be reducing aid to about 190,000 Gaza and PA Arabs – due to a shortage of funds, the organization said.

According to WFP PA head director Stephen Kearney, “WFP’s assistance has been a lifeline to tens of thousands of people who have exhausted all their meager resources while trying to cope with unabated and mounting hardships.” But, “As the gap between rising food needs and available resources continues to widen, WFP has no alternative but to take these difficult decisions.”

The decision follows recent cuts in other funding to the PA. The U.S. earlier this year slashed its assistance to UNWRA. In a statement, the organization said that as a result of the cuts, they are going to have to reduce the number of PA Arabs who get UNWRA assistance by a half million.

Kearney said that the U.S. has “cut funding, not just to UNRWA, who work with the refugees in Gaza, but also to the rest of the humanitarian community, including WFP. We call on the international donor community to strengthen its support and help us prevent even more hardship,” he added.

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