UK gives new aid to Palestinian refugees in Lebanon

07 February 2011

7 February 2011
Beirut

The British Embassy Beirut announced today the UK’s new contribution of £1.5 million to UNRWA, in response to the United Nations appeal to provide urgent support for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

Following is the statement issued by the UK’s Department for International Development:

The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) has announced new funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) that will help Palestinian refugees in Lebanon over the winter. It will provide urgently needed medical supplies for 1,172 families and ensure that 3,500 families have shelter.

Over 425,000 Palestinian refugees are registered with UNRWA in Lebanon. As a result of violence in 2007, thousands of refugees were forced to leave the Nahr el-Bared refugee camp. Many now live in overcrowded living conditions in temporary houses, rented facilities or with relatives, and are fully dependent on UNRWA for their daily living needs.

DFID Minister Alan Duncan said: “I remain concerned by the difficulties facing thousands of Palestinian refugee families in Lebanon, especially those displaced from the Nahr el-Bared camp. This new UK support will help the most vulnerable refugee families during the cold winter months ahead. But the only long term solution for Palestinian refugees across the Middle East is a negotiated peace agreement with Israel. The UK is continuing to work with both parties and the international community to achieve a just and fair two state solution.”

The UK is committed to helping the 4.8 million Palestinian refugees across the region, including in Lebanon. We are one of UNRWA’s biggest backers, with UK aid currently helping them to deliver:

- healthcare to 263,000 women and 242,000 children
- education for 45,000 children
- vocational training for 1000 vulnerable and disabled people
- food and cash aid for 29,000 extremely poor people.

- ENDS -

Notes for Editors:
The UK is announcing £1.5 million of new support to Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. This will provide the following results:

- Rental subsidies to 3,436 families for 2 months
- Hospitalisation and medicine cover for 1,172 families for 1 month

The UK also has a five-year (2007-11) core funding commitment to UNRWA worth up to £110 million. This money goes to UNRWA’s General Fund which is spent on delivering essential services (health, education, social services) to Palestinian refugees. In 2010 DFID provided £27 million to Palestinian refugees through UNRWA.

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$ 56 million.

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