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Belgium counters US with $23 million for UN Palestinian fund

January 17, 2018

A refugee sits on sacks of flour while he waits to receive food aid from UN food distribution center in Nusseirat refugee camp, central Gaza Strip, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. The Trump administration on Tuesday cut tens of millions of dollars in money for Palestinian refugees, demanding that the U.N. agency responsible for the programs undertake a "fundamental re-examination," the State Department said. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

BRUSSELS (AP) — Belgium has stepped in to help out the U.N. Agency assisting Palestinian refugees with an immediate disbursement of $23 million after the Trump administration suspended $65 million in aid for the international organization.

Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said Wednesday that “for a lot of Palestinian refugees, the UNRWA is the last life buoy.” Among the group’s projects are helping half a million children get an education and fending off attempts to radicalize them.

De Croo said he was responding to a global fundraising appeal from UNRWA in hopes of making up for funding cuts announced by the United States. The 19 million euros is Belgium’s allocation for three years but because of the group’s immediate need, De Croo’s office said it will be “disbursed immediately.”

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