UNRWA launches $415.4 mn appeal for Palestine Refugees in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan

UNRWA launches $415.4 mn appeal for Palestine Refugees in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan

| Wednesday 03 April 2024

UNRWA urged Wednesday its partners to continue supporting Palestine Refugees in Syria, and those who have fled to neighboring Lebanon and Jordan as a result of the 13-year conflict in Syria. The Agency is appealing for US$ 415.4 million to support its chronically underfunded operations in these three countries.

“We must continue to support Palestine Refugees affected by the 13-year-long Syria crisis. While the horror unfolding in Gaza is consuming most of our attention, humanitarian needs in other crisis-affected areas of operations should not be overlooked,” said Natalie Boucly, UNRWA’s Deputy Commissioner-General for Programmes and Partnerships, who launched the appeal in Beirut.

UNRWA has a long-standing humanitarian assistance program to mitigate the worst effects of the conflict in Syria on Palestine Refugees, and to address the deteriorating socio-economic conditions of hundreds of thousands of vulnerable Palestine Refugees in Lebanon and Jordan.

With funds received through this appeal, UNRWA said it will continue cash and in-kind food assistance, together with health care, education, technical and vocational training.

Despite the growing needs, funding for UNRWA’s emergency appeals for Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan decreased over recent years, with a dramatic fall to only 27 per cent coverage in 2023.

In 2021, just over half of the funding was covered, while it went down to 40 per cent in 2022.

“UNRWA’s overall funding situation remains precarious, especially given the challenges it has faced since the conflict in Gaza started. With significant funding gaps impeding its ability to implement its mandate, UNRWA will soon struggle to maintain the level of humanitarian assistance it can provide, and that level is already at minimum,” said Natalie Boucly.

“As the Palestine Refugee community faces even greater existential challenges across the region, UNRWA’s role has never been more vital,” she added.

Amid Lebanon’s continued economic crisis, poverty rates among Palestine Refugees there are around 80 per cent. Their pressing needs have outpaced UNRWA’s ability to respond and mitigate their lack of access to basic services.

At least 168,000 Palestine Refugees in Lebanon rely on the Agency for emergency, multi-purpose cash distribution to improve food security and cover basic living expenses.

Rising tensions on Lebanon's southern border are raising fears within the Palestine Refugee community, in particular for those residing in the 12 refugee camps across the country.

Last year, heavy violence among Palestinian factions in Ein El Hilweh, Lebanon’s largest Palestine Refugee camp, had a devastating impact on the livelihoods of the community, damaged UNRWA schools and forced the Agency to set up temporary facilities outside the camp for thousands of students.

Palestine Refugees from Syria face even more difficult circumstances, due to expiring civil documentation and an inability to obtain residency and employment permits, leading to a near total dependency on UNRWA’s cash assistance for rent and food.

UNRWA says its appeal aims to help meet basic needs including cash assistance for food, rent and winterization for 23,200 Palestine Refugees from Syria and 144,000 other Palestine Refugees in Lebanon, as well as emergency health and education in emergencies.

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