UNRWA to cut support for nursing and pregnant women next month

UNRWA to cut support for nursing and pregnant women next month

AMMAN, — The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) announced plans to cut spending this September on a program to provide food to nursing and pregnant women because of the fiscal deficit the agency is now suffering.

The decision is one of the steps the agency will take in reevaluating the strategies it uses in providing services to ensure optimal use of its resources, especially since it relies on limited donations.

UNRWA health program head, Dr. Mousa Shteiwi, stressed that rations distributed by UNRWA to nursing and pregnant women “is not the optimal solution” in dealing with the food deficiency suffered by women, despite the project’s costs which bear heavy weight on the limited budget.

The agency will begin to implement the decision Sept. 1, Shteiwi said, adding that financial support will still be available to needy families through social services programs.

In a related context, a human rights committee for Palestinian refugees in Jordan reported that 60 percent of the refugee camp population in Jordan is living under the poverty level after the noticeable decline in health, educational, and social services offered by UNRWA.

According to a letter presented Saturday to UNRWA Commissioner General Filippo Grandi prepared by the High Committee for the Defense of the Right of Return, Jordan and a delegation of Palestinian refugees representatives, more than 60 percent of Palestinians in the camps are living below the level of poverty, about 45 percent remain unemployed, and 75 percent have no possessions on camp.

The note highlighted the damages suffered by Palestinian refugees as a result of UNRWA reducing its services and escaping responsibility for providing support needed by them, and stressed that the agency must remain active until the refugees issue is resolved when they return to their lands which were occupied in 1948.