4 April 2013
The Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Filippo Grandi, visited a cash distribution center in Beirut, where he met with Palestine refugees displaced from Syria. The refugees spoke to the Commissioner-General about their sufferings and needs and he explained to them UNRWA’s efforts to assist them better.
The Commissioner-General was accompanied by the Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon Ms. Ann Dismorr, the Chargé d’affaires at the German Embassy in Lebanon Mr. Michael Bierhoff and the Chargé d‘affaires at the Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon Ms. Elsa Fenet.
The visitors toured the centre and had the chance to take a closer look at the cash distribution process. The assistance provided by UNRWA in this round of distribution, which that is the third since December 2012, was cash for food funded by Germany and cash for housing funded by the EU. The amounts distributed were 30.000LP (20$) per person for food and 160.000LP (around 107$ per family of 1 to 3 persons) and 220.000LP (around 146$ per family of 4 persons and above) for housing. On April 3 April, 830 families in Beirut received this cash assistance.
On the same day, the Commissioner-General visited the campus of the UNRWA vocational training centre in Siblin (near Saida), where around a thousand Palestine refugees study. Mr. Grandi toured the premises and had a chance to see first-hand the impact of UNRWA’s reform in technical and vocational education. Currently engaged in accrediting the centre with the Ministry of Education, the Agency installed new equipment, introduced new teaching techniques and is currently in the process of updating the curriculum. Mr. Grandi then held an extended meeting with students at the centre, who expressed their desire to find good jobs and earn a decent living. The Commissioner-General also met youth groups, namely the Siblin student Parliament and the students’ human rights committee. He encouraged the Youth to continue their initiatives and remain engaged in their education and extra-curriculum activities.
During his visit to Lebanon, the Commissioner-General meet with the President of the Republic, General Michel Sleiman, caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati and President of the Lebanese Palestinian Dialogue Committee, Khaldoun Al Sharif. In the meetings, Mr. Grandi provided his hosts with an update on the work of UNRWA in Lebanon and emphasized the importance of support from Lebanese authorities to UNRWA‘s operations.