UNRWA Commissioner-General calls on Arab States at Riyadh Summit to increase support for the Palestinian people

10 November 2023

More than 700,000 people shelter in UNRWA facilities in the Gaza Strip

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 UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini today called on the Arab States to scale up the response to the unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip. The Commissioner-General will address the extraordinary summit meeting of the League of Arab States, held in Riyadh tomorrow 11 November, at the invitation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

"The tight siege is devastating infrastructure and services as food, water, medicine and fuel have either totally run out or are in very short supply. The humanitarian situation is catastrophic and too little humanitarian aid is coming in,” said Lazzarini.

"More than 100 UNRWA staff have been killed since the beginning of the war, the highest number ever of UN workers killed in a conflict. This is in addition to more than 10,000 people killed, most of them women and children," he said.

The Commissioner-General praised the immediate response of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Sultanate of Oman and the United Arab Emirates to the UNRWA flash appeal from 10 October. He added that UNRWA’s immediate financial requirement amounts to more than $480 million to respond to the most basic needs including for the more than 700,000 people who are sheltered in our schools and premises.

"The people of the Gaza Strip have always relied on Arab support and solidarity.  They need it now, more than ever. “We call once again for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, the full respect of international humanitarian law, the continuous flow of humanitarian aid, including fuel as well as financial support for UNRWA, the largest UN operating entity on the ground and the only remaining lifeline for more than 2 million Palestinian," he concluded.

The Commissioner-General called on Arab States to bring back the hope and revive the political horizon of the Palestinian people before it is too late.


Background Information: 

UNRWA is the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. The United Nations General Assembly established UNRWA in 1949 with a mandate to provide humanitarian assistance and protection to registered Palestine refugees in the Agency’s area of operations pending a just and lasting solution to their plight.

UNRWA operates in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, The Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. 

Tens of thousands of Palestine refugees who lost their homes and livelihoods due to the 1948 conflict continue to be displaced and in need of support, nearly 75 years on.

UNRWA helps Palestine Refugees achieve their full potential in human development through quality services it provides in education, health care, relief and social services, protection, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance, and emergency assistance. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions.

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to displaced families in Gaza

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