UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near and Middle East, is by all intents and purposes broke.
Historically underfunded and catching up with its own shadow, it is now in an unprecedented position, carrying a US$101 million shortfall that has compelled UN General Secretary, Ban Ki Moon, to put out an urgent appeal for more donors to come forward and help stem the deficit.
What will happen if funding is not met is that UNRWA will have to do something that it has never done before and delay the school year; this has not happened since the agency’s inception in 1949.
But there is simply no other choice. Without new money, the cash is due to run out in October, teachers can no longer be paid, and half a million children across the Middle East, currently educated in 700 UNRWA schools, will no longer have a school to go to.