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UNRWA in the West Bank resumes services to Palestine Refugees
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) today resumed its service delivery to Palestine Refugees in the West Bank, after nearly four months of disruption due to a work dispute with the West Bank Staff Union and a strike.
“We are relieved that UNRWA is now able to restart providing services to the refugee communities across the West Bank. Palestine Refugees have been severely impacted by the strike, which started on 4 March,” said Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA Commissioner-General.
As of this morning, UNRWA teams across the West Bank are preparing all Agency facilities and installations to go back to normal as early as possible next week. With education and health services as a priority, efforts include cleaning and disposing of solid waste, maintenance of the Agency’s buildings to receive staff and refugees, putting in place security measures and pre-positioning of supplies including medicines and sanitation material. As soon as the preparations are complete, UNRWA facilities will be open for services, some as soon as tomorrow.
“Our top priority right now is to reopen 90 UNRWA schools, so that more than 40,000 children who were on the verge of losing a whole school year and are at a risk of dropping out, will be able to catch up on education losses and move to the next levels,” he added.
The resumption of services comes following lengthy discussions with several parties over the past months.
“I would like to pay tribute to all those who helped and supported us reach a resolution of the disruptive situation. In particular, I would like to acknowledge the exceptional contribution of the UNRWA West Bank team led by Adam Bouloukos, the Director of UNRWA West Bank Affairs, Palestinian staff who did not go on strike and international staff who helped manage the crisis. My colleagues showed extraordinary commitment to UNRWA and to Palestine Refugees throughout the strike. I would also like to thank the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization, whose positive role came from the highest levels, His Excellency President Abbas who personally intervened at key moments,” the Commissioner-General added.
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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