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December 3, 2014 8:41 pm

UN Says It Can’t Feed Syrian Refugees as UNRWA Raises Billions for Palestinians

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Students at a UNRWA School in Gaza, in 2011. Photo: UN / Shareef Sarhan.

Students at a UNRWA School in Gaza, in 2011. Photo: UN / Shareef Sarhan.

From Al Jazeera:

The United Nations’ food agency has announced that it is suspending its food programme serving more than 1.7 million Syrian refugees because it has run out of money.

The World Food Programme (WFP) said on Monday that it “immediately needs” at least $64m in December alone to support the displaced Syrians now living in neighbouring countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey.

“A suspension of WFP food assistance will endanger the health and safety of these refugees and will potentially cause further tensions, instability and insecurity in the neighbouring host countries,” said WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin, in an appeal to donors.

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“The suspension of WFP food assistance will be disastrous for many already suffering families.”

Since the war in Syria began in 2011, over three million people have fled to neighbouring countries.

Under the UN programme, the refugees use vouchers to buy food in local shops. The UN provides basics like flour, cooking oil and sugar. But it also gives vital food vouchers to pregnant and nursing mothers.

“Without WFP vouchers, many families will go hungry. For refugees already struggling to survive the harsh winter, the consequences of halting this assistance will be devastating,” the UN said.

Every month, the UN feeds over four million people inside Syria, and over a million more now temporarily sheltered in other countries.

Muhannad Hadi, the UN coordinator of the food programme, told Al Jazeera the refugees would face a harsh winter without support from the world body.

“It’s definitely a catastrophe,” he said, speaking from the Jordanian capital Amman. “If we cannot deliver the food voucher, they simply would not be able to eat.”

“We are asking the world [to help]. This is an international crisis.”

There is only so much international aid to go around, and one reason why the World Food Program is running out of money is because the bloated, superfluous UNRWA keeps on manufacturing its own “crises” every couple of months to keep its own cash flow coming.

Last week, UNRWA declared an “emergency” because of flooding in Gaza that did not kill or injure a single person.

While the WFP needs some $64 million a month to stop people from starving, UNRWA is demanding $1.6 billion from the international community on top of $300 million it demanded earlier this year.

While Syrian refugees cannot eat, UNRWA goes fundraising in Japan and Azerbaijan.

Even crazier is that UNRWA also solicits money for the relatively small percentage of Syrian refugees who fall under its mandate. Rather than a single UN fundraising effort for all Syrian refugees to ensure fair distribution, UNRWA has a separate program because the UN makes a distinction between refugees who happen to have some ancestors who lived in British Mandate Palestine in 1947 and all others. The UNHRC and WFP are struggling to give Syrian refugees the basics of food and medical care while the Palestinians who fall under UNRWA’s mandate receive much higher levels of aid per capita, including schooling and medicine. “Palestinian” refugees from Syria go to different camps in Jordan than the rest of the refugees because of Arab bigotry against Palestinians that gets swept under the rug.

The inefficiencies from having UNRWA doing the same work as other UN agencies, and the Arab nations insisting on discrimination against Palestinians, is wasting huge amounts of money.

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