The 2016 UNRWA Emergency Appeal in the occupied Palestinian territory has four strategic priorities. These priorities focus on preventing further deteriorations in food security; promoting, protecting and upholding the rights of refugees, including accessing services; and ensuring that UNRWA has sufficient capacity to effectively implement its emergency programmes. The Agency is requesting US$ 403 million in 2016 to cover the cost of emergency interventions in critical sectors such as food and cash assistance, livelihoods, protection, community mental health, education, shelter, and water and sanitation.
Priorities for UNRWA emergency support to Palestine refugees affected by the recurrent hostilities in Gaza and by the ongoing blockade and occupation include emergency in-kind food assistance to approximately 830,000 Palestine refugees living beneath the poverty line, 45,870 emergency cash-for-work opportunities and counselling for over 25,000 refugee children. Summer Fun Weeks for 120,000 children will mitigate the impact of both conflict and poverty on students’ physical and mental health and on their learning and development.
In the West Bank, UNRWA will provide emergency food assistance to almost 36,000 households, while cash-for-work opportunities will be directed towards improved camp environments, actively promoting female and youth participation. Mobile health clinics and mobile community mental health teams will serve communities facing significant obstacles to accessing health services, specifically in areas such as Area C and the Seam Zone.
The regional crisis triggered by the conflict in Syria is one of the most trying challenges UNRWA has faced since it began assisting Palestine refugees after their original dispossession in 1948. In the midst of the bloodshed and destruction of five-years of conflict, the 560,000 Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA in Syria are among those worst affected. Hundreds of thousands have been subjected to repeated displacement and thousands in Yarmouk and Khan Eshieh remain trapped in areas of active conflict, in conditions of unimaginable suffering. Those able to flee to Jordan and Lebanon face a precarious existence and are forced to subsist on humanitarian handouts. Confronted with hopelessness and fear, amplified by the unresolved issue of Palestinian statelessness, many are joining the refugee exodus within the region and into Europe, often on perilous sea journeys.
More than ever, UNRWA provides a critical lifeline to Palestine refugees in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. The UNRWA Syria Crisis Response Plan for 2016 appeals for US$ 414 million to support critical humanitarian assistance such as food, cash, household items, winter items, emergency education and emergency health care in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. US$ 329 million is needed to cover minimum humanitarian needs in Syria, US$ 63 million for Lebanon, US$ 17 million for Jordan and US$ 5 million to support regional management and the emergency response outside these three fields.
UNRWA has been able to respond with speed and effectiveness to the Syria crisis due to its operational depth and breadth, made possible by over 13,000 area staff in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, many of whom are experienced in humanitarian assistance. Together, we support the resilience of the Palestine refugee community as face the enormous challenges of the ongoing conflict.