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Foreign Affairs Trade, Government Federal

ACFID welcomes Australian Government’s reinstatement of funding to UNRWA

Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) 2 mins read

The Australian Council for International Development (ACFID), the peak body for humanitarian and development organisations, welcomes the Australian Government’s announcement to reinstate the funding of the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA).

 “This decision is overdue given the urgency of the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza and UNRWA’s lifesaving support amongst a population currently on the brink of famine," said ACFID chief executive Marc Purcell.

“Children are already dying of starvation on the world’s watch. Parachuting aid is not a solution. Five civilians have already died in trying to reach air drops in Gaza, and the aid is only reached by those who are fit and able to do so.  Women, children, elderly and people with disability are left behind, those who are sick, injured and starving will not receive this relief.

“It is essential that the Australian Government redoubles its efforts to ensure aid convoys can enter Gaza safely via land. We call on the Australian Government to urge that aid convoys and humanitarian workers are not targeted further by the Israeli defence forces as they seek to assist civilians.” 

It has been almost three weeks since the Director of UNRWA in Gaza warned the Australian Government of UNRWA’s pending collapse without donors reinstating their funding. This would have meant the collapse of the entire humanitarian response. 

“ACFID has actively advocated for UNRWA’s funding to be reinstated since its suspension, recognizing the vital backbone that UNRWA is in providing the humanitarian response in Gaza and across the region,” said Mr Purcell.

Since the allegations arose, UNRWA actively responded, including with the dismissal of staff alleged to have been involved in the October 7 attack.  

Over 31,000 people have now died in Gaza since October 7, thousands more are injured or missing, and more than a quarter of Gaza’s 2.3 million people are estimated to be facing catastrophic levels of deprivation and starvation. 

ACFID welcomes the additional funding of $4 million to UNICEF and calls on the Australian Government to continue considering further ongoing funding for the humanitarian response in Gaza, the West Bank & the region, including to Australian NGOs providing crucial and lifesaving assistance. 

ACFID continues to call for the Australian Government to publicly advocate for an immediate and permanent ceasefire to prevent further loss of life in Gaza. 

Contact details:

Georgie Moore 0421 943 293 / Anil Lambert 0416 426 722

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