24 September 2013
Khaled Ali Suleiman, a 39-year-old Palestine refugee from Syria who came to the Jaramana camp in December 2012, intends to buy school supplies for his four children using cash assistance from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Nahed al-Mughrabi, who comes from the same Damascus neighbourhood, Husseinieh, hopes to fix the water pipes and electricity wires in the Jaramana home she and her in-laws have been renting.
These are two of the thousands of Palestine refugees whose lives have been turned upside down by the ongoing conflict in Syria. Cash assistance from the Agency has provided invaluable support, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Syria Michael Kingsley-Nyinah explains, because it "allows beneficiaries to address their most immediate humanitarian needs." Receiving the second installment, Nahed, Khaled and other Palestine refugees could assess and respond to their individual needs.
UNRWA has also provided non-food items and food assistance. Food parcels - containing cooking oil, sugar, rice, lentils, milk and canned food - have been especially important for parents like Khaled, who have large, young families. However, life is still difficult in Jaramana: With even poorly paid labouring work unavailable, he has struggled to find a job. As for Nahed, her family does not have the savings to renew the lease on their rented home. "We have depleted the resources we brought with us. We are in debt, especially for the rent," she says.
Nahed adds, "We are grateful for the assistance from UNRWA, but our needs are immense." Khaled, too, is glad that he is registered for assistance, but says, "We need more support for our children and our accommodation."
As it continues, the conflict has led to deteriorating humanitarian and socioeconomic conditions among displaced Palestine refugees, and the scale of the needs is a challenge. Mr Nyinah explains that "This initiative has been made possible thanks to contributions from donors across the world." However, he adds, "Palestine refugees across Syria remain extremely vulnerable. Expanded support is essential to prevent any further degradation in their well-being."