UN agency evacuates Gaza international staff after protests

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees is evacuating international staff in Gaza following mounting protests along the border.

U.N. Relief and Works Agency’s operations director Matthias Schmale says Tuesday that nine international personnel occupying “non-essential jobs” are being temporarily moved to Jerusalem.

UNRWA is coping with a severe financial crisis after the U.S. administration cut $300 million in planned 2018 funding.

The agency fired 113 Gaza staff on its emergency program and turned hundreds of positions into part-time jobs, triggering a series of protests and strikes.

Schmale, who remains in Gaza, said the management “can’t function properly” under the conditions.

UNRWA provided food and basic services to 700,000 Palestinians who fled or were forced from their homes in the 1948 war surrounding Israel’s creation.

Today, it serves 5 million refugees and their descendants, 1.3 million in Gaza alone.

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