The World Food Program (WFP) will stop food aid to more than 200,000 Palestinians from next month due to a “severe” budget shortfall, a senior official from the group in charge of the Palestinian territories said on Sunday. Japan.
Samer Abdeljaber, WFP’s country director, told Reuters by phone from Jerusalem: “In the face of severe funding shortfalls, WFP is forced to make painful choices to prolong its limited resources.”
“WFP will have to start pausing support for more than 200,000 people, 60% of their current cases, from June.”
The families most affected are in Gaza, where food insecurity and poverty are highest, and in the West Bank.
The United Nations agency provides impoverished Palestinians with both a monthly voucher for $10.30 per person and a food basket. Both programs will be affected.
Gaza, run by the Islamist group Hamas since 2007, is home to 2.3 million people, 45 percent of which are unemployed and 80 percent dependent on international aid, according to Palestinian and United Nations records. .
“WFP understands the implications of this difficult and inevitable decision for hundreds of thousands of people, who also depend on food assistance for their most basic needs,” said Abdeljaber.
Citing security concerns with the land’s Hamas rulers, Israel led a blockade along with Egypt that has placed restrictions on the movement of people and goods for many years. year.
Abdeljaber said the UN agency would continue to provide aid to 140,000 people in Gaza and the West Bank, adding that the decision to suspend was made to save those most at risk of not being able to afford food. eat.
He said unless funding is received, WFP will be forced to halt food and cash assistance altogether by August.
Chanting “Don’t go hungry”, dozens of Palestinians held a rally outside the WFP office in Gaza City to protest the decision.
Faraj Al-Masri, a father of two, whose family receives $41.2 per month vouchers, said: “The coupons are life, the message they send us with death because no other source of income.
In Jabalia, in the northern Gaza Strip, Jamalat El-Dabour, whose family receives $164.8 worth of vouchers a month, said they would “starve” because her husband was sick and unemployed.
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