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.

– Ends –

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.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: 
+972 (0)2 589 0267
Sami Mshasha
UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: 
+972 (0)2 589 0724

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