U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.)

U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) attends an April 7, 2022 news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

(Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

50 House Dems Call for Funding the UNRWA to Aid Gaza

The agency has lost $450 million since funding was suspended.

A group of 50 House Democrats on Wednesday called for the full funding of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency to "provide urgent humanitarian relief to Gaza."

Funding for the UNRWA was suspended by the U.S. and many other western nations following claims from the Israeli government that the agency had connections with Hamas. These claims have not been substantiated, but the U.S. is still withholding vital funding to the agency.

The UNRWA provides healthcare, social services, water and more to residents of The Gaza Strip. Palestinians are currently facing a severe lack of food and clean water, and the UNRWA has lost $450 million in funding that could be used to save lives in the region.

Last week, UNRWA's Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini warned in a letter to colleagues at the United Nations that his agency was at a "breaking point" and said without funding restored its ability to provide humanitarian services and save lives was "seriously threatened."

Democratic Reps. Pramila Jayapal, André Carson, and Jamie Raskin led the fresh call for restoring the U.S. funding to the UNRWA.

"For decades, UNRWA has played a unique and integral role in supporting the welfare and survival of Palestinians," Jayapal said in a statement. "Humanitarian aid in the region is already severely restricted. Prohibiting United States funding for this organization, which has been on the frontlines of conflict in Gaza, is especially irresponsible and unacceptable given our country’s historic role as the largest contributor to UNRWA. There is no question in my mind that revoking funding for UNRWA will lead to more devastation and loss of life in Gaza."

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