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HomeWorld$414 Million Appeal For Palestine Refugees In Syria, Lebanon And Jordan

$414 Million Appeal For Palestine Refugees In Syria, Lebanon And Jordan


As hostilities continue in Gaza, the UN agency
that assists Palestine refugees, UNRWA, urged donors not to
forget about Palestinians affected by the ongoing war in
Syria.

UNRWA on
Wednesday launched a $414.4
million appeal
for Palestine refugees in Syria and those
who have fled the country for neighbouring Lebanon and
Jordan due to the conflict.

Continue the
support

The funding will be used to keep cash and
in-kind food assistance running, along with healthcare,
education, and technical and vocational
training.

We must continue to support
Palestine Refugees affected by the 13-year-long Syria
crisis
,” said Natalie Boucly, UNRWA’s Deputy
Commissioner-General for Programmes and Partnerships,
speaking at the launch in Beirut.

“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.”

Mitigating
conflict impacts

UNRWA has a long-standing
humanitarian assistance operation 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 who are now living in Lebanon and
Jordan.

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It has carried out relief and works programmes
for Palestine refugees in these countries, and in Gaza and
the West Bank, for more than 75 years and mainly
depends on donations
to meet its budget of over
$800 million.

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

Overall funding
shortfall

Ms. Boucly said UNRWA’s overall funding
situation remains precarious, especially given the
challenges faced since the start of the conflict in Gaza
nearly six months ago.

“UNRWA will soon struggle to
maintain the level of humanitarian assistance it can
provide, and that level is already at
minimum
,” she said. “As the Palestine Refugee
community faces even greater existential challenges across
the region, UNRWA’s role has never been more
vital
.”

In January, UNRWA
Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini warned that its
lifesaving programmes were in danger after
16 countries suspended some $450 million in funding

following Israel’s allegations that several agency staff
had been involved in the brutal 7 October Hamas-led attacks
on its territory.

Allegations and
investigations

The UN appointed an independent review
panel to conduct an assessment of UNRWA’s operations while
its highest investigate body, the Office of Internal
Oversight Services (OIOS), launched a probe into the
allegations.

The review panel issued its interim
findings
in March, which said that UNRWA has a
significant number of mechanisms and procedures in place to
ensure neutrality, though critical areas still need to be
addressed. A full report is expected later this
month.

Support for UNRWA

Some governments have
renewed their support to UNRWA, such as Germany,
which last month announced 45 million Euros, roughly $48.7
million, in new contributions for operations in Jordan,
Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank.

Other recent
donations include a
$40 million contribution
from Saudi Arabia’s King
Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief) which
will be used to provide food for more than 250,000 people
and tents for 20,000 families in Gaza.

Millions of
Muslims worldwide are also donating to an UNRWA campaign
during the
holy month of Ramadan
to support the most vulnerable
Palestine refugees. Last year, some $4.7 million was
raised.

Gaza humanitarian update

Meanwhile,
there has been no significant change in the volume of
humanitarian supplies entering Gaza or improved access to
the north, UNRWA, said in its most recent update on the
crisis.

Last month, an average of 161 aid trucks
crossed into Gaza each day, with the highest number – 264
– on 28 March, though still well below the target of 500
per day.

UNRWA is the largest humanitarian operation
in the Gaza Strip and half of all supplies delivered in
March were for the agency, according to the
update
, which was published on Tuesday.

Over 75
per cent of Gaza’s population, roughly 1.7 million people,
has been displaced since the current hostilities began on 7
October. The majority have been uprooted multiple
times.

Restrictions in north

Around one
million people are residing in or near emergency shelters or
informal shelters, and approximately 160,000 displaced
people are staying in UNRWA shelters in Northern Gaza and
Gaza City governorates.

UNRWA estimated that up to
300,000 people are in the two governorates, however its
ability to provide humanitarian support in these areas has
been severely restricted.

Since 7 October, UNRWA has
delivered flour to more than 1.8 million people in Gaza, or
85 per cent of the population. Furthermore, nearly 600,000
people have received emergency food parcels and almost 3.6
million patient consultations have been provided at health
centres and
points.

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