UNRWA Launches Ramadan Appeal for Palestine Refugees in Syria

16 June 2014
 UNRWA Launches Ramadan Appeal for Palestine Refugees in Syria


The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has launched a Ramadan Appeal for US$ 27 million to enable Palestine refugees trapped in Syria to be able to buy food in Ramadan.

Announcing the appeal, Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissioner-General of UNRWA, said: “As we come up to Ramadan, we can foresee a prospect of thousands of Palestinian refugees going hungry because very simply they do not have enough money to buy food. Their livelihoods and often their houses have been destroyed. The US$ 27 million requested would enable us to distribute cash to 440,000 of the needy through our proven and very reliable cash-distribution network.”

At the outset of the Syria crisis, there were approximately 500,000 Palestinian refugees registered in Syria. As a result of the conflict, an additional 40,000 Palestine refugees, who had not previously required assistance, have registered with UNRWA over the last two years. A further 80,000 have fled Syria, mainly to Lebanon, but it has become increasingly difficult for Palestinians to enter any of the neighbouring countries. Of the approximately 460,000 who remain, almost all have been badly affected by the crisis, requiring continuous humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs. At least half have fled their homes, sometimes more than once.

Chris Gunness, UNRWA spokesman, said: “Many of the people we are helping will definitely go hungry if we do not receive the funds requested. Our budget for the month of Ramadan is US$ 27 million short. Donors can be reassured that donations will reach the right people. Our programme has already been going on since August 2011. US$ 83 million has already been distributed directly to the needy using our cash-distribution network.”

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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