The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) says it will have to slash assistance to more than half the people it helps in the Israeli-occupied territories because of budget shortfalls.

Peter Hansen, the head of UNRWA, told donors at a meeting in Amman, Jordan, on Wednesday that the lack of response to an emergency appeal for funds will result in the agency not meeting even half of the refugees' needs.

The agency says its appeal in June for emergency assistance fell far short of a $103 million goal. Only $38 million has been pledged, $31 million of that coming from the United States.

As a result, food distribution, housing, education and health programs run by the refugee agency will now be scaled back in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Since 1948, UNRWA has provided assistance to millions of Palestinian refugees in the Middle East, including more than 1.5 million in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.