Palestinian refugees hardest hit in the West Bank

12 December 2011

According to new UNRWA report

12 December 2011
Jerusalem

According to a new report by UNRWA, despite modest economic good news in the West Bank, the number of unemployed refugees grew by nearly one per cent in the first half of the year, to over 50,000 people, as unemployment generally in the West Bank declined. At 27.4 per cent, the unemployment rate for refugees is about 5 percentage points above the average of the West Bank as a whole.

“These figures show once more that the refugees continue to bear the brunt of economic hardship in the West Bank,” said UNRWA spokesman, Chris Gunness, “making the need for our emergency services greater than ever.”

The report finds that “in the context of 3.7 per cent overall employment growth, refugees lost ground in the public sector, where their employment declined 2.9 per cent in the sequential period. Total employment growth of refugees was about 1.5 per cent year over year, well below the overall rate of job growth for non-refugees in the West Bank.”

According to the report, the average nominal daily wage fell 2.3 per cent for employed refugees in the first half of 2011 relative to the second half of 2010. At US$ 25.8, it was 14.4 per cent below that of non-refugees. And with the average number of days worked per month falling 1.1 per cent, the average nominal monthly wage for refugees declined 3.4 per cent to US$ 565.4, or nearly 15 per cent below that of non-refugees.

Download the full report (PDF)

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Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0267
c.gunness@unrwa.org  

Sami Mshasha
UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0724
s.mshasha@unrwa.org

Background Information

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

Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 70.5 million.

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