US announces US$53m in new Palestinian aid, urges access

US announces US$53m in new Palestinian aid, urges access
US announces US$53m in new Palestinian aid, urges access

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Palestinian children wait to get food from an aid distribution team in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza. — AFP pic

WASHINGTON, Feb 28 — The United States yesterday announced another US$53 million (RM252.4 million) in humanitarian assistance for Palestinians as the US aid chief pleaded for protections to relief workers in war-ravaged Gaza.

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) said the aid would go through the World Food Programme and non-governmental groups, as Israel and Western powers criticise the UN refugee agency in besieged Gaza.

Announcing the aid in a video from Jordan, USAID Administrator Samantha Power said the new assistance “has to reach people in need.”

“The aid workers who on the ground in Gaza are risking their lives to get food to people in desperate, desperate need — those aid workers have to be protected,” she said.

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“They have to know they can do their jobs without being shot at and killed,” she said, without naming either Israel or Hamas, which controls Gaza.

The assistance brings total US emergency assistance to the Palestinians to US$180 million since the massive October 7 attack by Hamas on Israel, which has responded with a relentless military campaign in Gaza.

The United States has previously flown aid by military plane to Egypt to cross into Gaza.

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But the United States and other Western nations have suspended funding to UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, in response to Israeli allegations that some of its staff participated in the October 7 attack.

The UN fired the employees accused by Israel and has begun an internal probe of UNRWA.

With UNRWA blocked from aid deliveries, the United Nations has warned of looming famine threatening virtually everyone in Gaza. — AFP

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