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Save the Children welcomes Australia’s decision to reinstate funding to UNRWA

UNRWA, which delivers up to 80% of aid to Gaza, warned its humanitarian operation in Gaza would collapse if donors continued to withhold funding. 
15 March 2024

Save the Children Australia welcomes the Australian Government’s announcement today that it will reinstate suspended funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and increase humanitarian aid to Gaza. 
As well as reinstating the funding, Australia has announced a further $6 million in humanitarian assistance as well as support for air drops of aid to civilians in desperate need. In total, Australia has now committed $52.5 million to Gaza since October 7, including $11.5 million to refugee programs in Lebanon and Jordan. 
Australia suspended new funding to UNRWA on 27 January, following allegations made by the Government of Israel that 12 UNRWA staff members were involved in the October 7 attack on Israel. Save the Children and other NGOs welcomed UNRWA’s swift investigation into the allegations and condemned the decision by Australia and a number of other states to suspend funding to UNRWA. 
In response to the reinstatement of funding to UNRWA, Save the Children Australia CEO Mat Tinkler said: 
“We welcome the Albanese Government’s decision to reinstate this funding so that UNRWA can get on with the essential work of saving lives in Gaza. 
“It is also heartening to see that Australia is increasing its support for other aid agencies working on the ground in Gaza, however we would encourage the government to go even further.  
“With children now starving to death in Gaza due to the limited amount of humanitarian assistance that can reach them, Australia must do everything it can to support those in need, including by further increasing humanitarian funding and pressuring the Government of Israel to allow much greater amounts of aid in.” 

Israel’s relentless bombardment and deprivation of aid in Gaza has led to 75% of the population being displaced and the entire child population facing starvation and disease. At least 31,272 people have been killed, including more than 12,900 children, 21 of whom have been officially confirmed as having starved to death, according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza.  
Save the Children calls on Australia to use whatever leverage it has to urge the warring parties to agree to a definitive ceasefire in Gaza. Given the grave violations committed against children in both Israel and Gaza, Australia should also immediately commit to ending all exports of weapons, parts, and ammunition to Israel and Palestinian armed groups. 


MEDIA CONTACT: Jessica Brennan on +61 4 21 334 918 or

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