Spain to give UNRWA extra $3.8 million after key donors suspend aid

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain will send the United Nations' Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA an additional 3.5 million euros ($3.8 million) in aid, Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares told lawmakers on Monday.

Major donors to UNRWA, including the United States and Germany, suspended funding after allegations emerged that around 12 of its tens of thousands of Palestinian employees were suspected of involvement in the Oct. 7 attacks in Israel by Hamas.

"UNRWA's situation is desperate and there is a serious risk that its humanitarian activities will be paralysed in Gaza within a few weeks," Albares told lawmakers.

Madrid contributed 18.5 million euros directly to UNRWA in 2023, including 10 million euros approved in December following the decision to triple development and humanitarian aid to the Palestinian territories.

On Friday, neighboring Portugal announced additional aid to UNRWA worth one million euros. Foreign Minister Joao Cravinho wrote on social media platform X it was essential "not to turn our backs on the Palestinian population at this difficult time".

($1 = 0.9301 euros)

(Reporting by Emma Pinedo; Additional reporting by Catarina Demony; Writing by David Latona; Editing by Andrei Khalip)