UNRWA Issues Special Appeal for Patients in Lebanon

31 July 2013

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has issued a Special Appeal, during the holy month of Ramadan, to help provide a chance for a better life to five Palestine refugees in Lebanon who need urgent, costly surgery for serious medical conditions.

Since April 2011, when it was launched with the support of private-sector partners, the Agency’s Catastrophic Ailment Relief programme (CARE) has provided financial assistance to more than 470 patients suffering from cancer, multiple sclerosis, thalassaemia and other conditions.

In 2012, the response to the UNRWA Special Appeal helped secure treatment for three out of the four patients who needed support – Mohammad, Basma, Asil and Mirna. Mirna still requires assistance this year, and UNRWA hopes to assist four other Palestine refugees in Lebanon as well – Hanan, Tala’at, Aybak and Mohammad.

Each year, around 4,000 Palestine refugees in Lebanon alone face catastrophic medical conditions that require expensive and long-term treatment. Ninety-five per cent of the refugees in Lebanon, however, do not have health insurance. Working with donors and other partners, UNRWA fully covers primary and secondary health-care services for these refugees, and covers 50 per cent of tertiary-care costs. The CARE programme works to offer a bit of hope to those Palestine refugees facing the most challenging and serious illnesses.

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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

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