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Trump's aid cuts have turned Gaza into a 'time bomb,' warns UNRWA chief Open in fullscreen

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Trump's aid cuts have turned Gaza into a 'time bomb,' warns UNRWA chief

A Palestinian man protest against Trump's cuts to UNRWA aid [Getty]

Date of publication: 18 February, 2018

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The head of the UN body voiced his concern for Gaza's future amid the ongoing US-led cuts to UNRWA aid.
The chief of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees has slammed the US decision to cut funding to the organisation, designating it as a major cause for instability and violent unrest in the region, most notably in the Gaza Strip.

Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl said on Saturday that the aid cut, in which the US suspended $65 million in funds to the refugee agency, came as a significant shock to the organisation, which has been operating since 1948 providing food, healthcare, education, shelter and employment for more than five million refugees and their descendants across the Middle East.

"Here in the region already you don't have a political horizon, there is no solution, no negotiation on the horizon. And there is so limited personal opportunities on the horizon," Krahenbuhl told Sky News.

"That mix plus suddenly a disruption of service that's a very serious one and I think in the Gaza Strip in particular we are already dealing with a time bomb."

Cash-starved Gaza has suffered a string of crises in recent weeks as the ongoing Israeli blockade of the enclave, and political power play between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, prolongs the chronic energy and fuel shortages which led to the closures of over 20 health care facilities last week.

Hundreds of operations were cancelled and thousands of hospital patients were put at risk as medical and human waste gathered in hospital corridors as cleaning staff went on strike after five months without pay.

Since the Trump-initiated aid cut, UNRWA has issued an emergency appeal for $800 million worth of funding. 

Belgium, Iceland, Japan and Kuwait have all bolstered their funding for the UN agency.

Tensions in the besieged enclave have been bubbling, with many fearing the outbreak of another devastating Gaza war.

On Saturday, Israeli jets bombed 18 Hamas targets in Gaza, killing two Palestinians, after a bomb placed on the Israel-Gaza border injured four Israeli soldiers.

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