A total of 59 members of the US Congress yesterday urged their administration to restart humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians suspended over a year ago.
In a letter to the US ambassador to the United Nations, Kelly Craft, the members of Congress said that with the COVID-19 outbreak, the assistance is urgently needed to help the Palestinians deal with the pandemic.
“As COVID-19 pandemic numbers continue to rise, we write to seek your assistance in the effort to restart U.S. humanitarian assistance to Palestinians, including UNRWA,” said the congress members in their letter to Craft. “As you know, the pandemic has now reached the Gaza Strip with cases beginning to inexorably rise in a place with few resources to combat the outbreak. Coupled with the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan, the pandemic now poses an unprecedented global health emergency.”
The letter added: “It is important that we empower these public health officials, who are deliberately putting themselves in harm’s way for the common good, by providing them the resources they need to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. government has funding available through its Migration and Refugee Assistance and Economic Support Fund programs for immediate obligation to address this deteriorating humanitarian situation. The administration need only obligate these funds - their use requires neither additional legislative language nor supplemental appropriations.
“These funds could be put to instant use supporting the public health response, including the 3,300 health care workers staffing 144 UNRWA health clinics that are now on the front lines in combating this pandemic. UNRWA is working closely with host authorities and the World Health Organization with triage care and protocols in place to identify patients with respiratory symptoms. This funding could also support the six facilities comprising the East Jerusalem Hospital Network, as well as U.S. NGOs engaged in health work.”
The letter was signed by 59 members of the US Congress. http://english.wafa.ps/page.aspx?id=5xsv8va116919049038a5xsv8v