Extremadura Supports Health in Syria

07 July 2014

East Jerusalem

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) is grateful to the Government of Extremadura, Spain, for its contribution to the Agency’s Syria response efforts. The contribution of EUR 75,000 (US$ 102,000) will help UNRWA acquire and distribute hygiene kits for people displaced by the ongoing conflict.

Since March 2011, civilians in Syria are suffering the serious consequences of a conflict that has few precedents in the region. It has forced 2.5 million people to seek refuge in neighbouring countries, while more than 6 million are internally displaced. Palestine refugees in Syria are among the most vulnerable; even before the conflict, they faced higher levels of poverty and unemployment, which the disruptions of the past few years have only exacerbated.

UNRWA calculates that nearly half a million Palestine refugees still in Syria – representing almost all of the pre-conflict population – are in need of assistance. Half are displaced within the country; 53,000 have sought refuge in Lebanon, while almost 14,000 have fled to Jordan.

Even once they find places of safety, refugees’ struggles are not over. In Syria, the collective shelters – many of them housed in schools – have experienced outbreaks of scabies and lice. Hygiene kits, including toothpaste, shampoo and detergent, are an important element of improving displaced people’s living conditions. The support from Extremadura will allow UNRWA to acquire 2,015 kits, which will help approximately 9,000 people, including over 2,000 children, protect themselves from some of the consequences of displacement.

Background Information

UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions, and financial support has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, deepening poverty and conflict. As a result, the UNRWA General Fund, which supports core essential services and most staffing costs, operates with a large deficit. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large deficits, are funded through separate funding portals. 

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications
+972 (0)54 240 2659
+972 (0)2 589 0267
Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
+972 (0)54 216 8295
+972 (0)2 589 0724