The UN agency that supports Palestinian refugees says just four percent of its emergency work in Syria has been funded so far this year.

UNRWA spokesman Christopher Gunness says the agency needs around $250 million to fund its cash program, which provides cash distributions for roughly half a million Palestinian refugees affected by the war in Syria.

He says that if there isn't immediate funding, the agency will have to stop running the program "in a matter of days."

Gunness was speaking Sunday to The Associated Press from Kuwait, where an international conference will take place Tuesday to raise funds for humanitarian operations in Syria.

He says that for the more than 95 percent of refugees reliant on assistance, "it is quite literally a matter of life and death."