EU humanitarian assistance helps UNRWA respond to the growing needs of Palestine refugees in Syria

28 May 2019

The European Commission is providing EUR 3 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to provide emergency cash assistance to the conflict-affected Palestine refugees in Syria.

This generous contribution will ensure that UNRWA continues to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable Palestine refugees in Syria by providing cash assistance of US$ 46 per person to cover their basic needs including food, shelter and heating. It also affords them personal dignity and choice in managing their own well-being.

“The European Union is committed to assist all those affected by the Syria crisis. This EU emergency assistance is vital for vulnerable populations, including thousands of Palestine refugees who have also suffered the consequences of this conflict,” said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides.

“The EU remains a generous partner of UNRWA and we are immensely grateful for its continued partnership and solidarity,” said Director of UNRWA Affairs in Syria, Amanya Michael-Ebye. “Its generous contribution has demonstrated its strong commitment to supporting vulnerable Palestine refugees and helped us provide for the basic needs of the most vulnerable of them. The protracted crisis in Syria has deepened the vulnerability of Palestine refugees living in the country who remain dependent on UNRWA for food and our medical supplies. UNRWA cash assistance is sometimes the only source of income. This is an encouraging example of how cooperation among partners can help mitigate the suffering and hardship of refugees,” Amanya added.

The UNRWA cash assistance programme ensures essential assistance reaches the most vulnerable refugees, with a focus on female-headed households, the elderly, orphans, and disabled persons.

About the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)

The European Union and its Member States are the world's leading donor of humanitarian aid.  Relief assistance is an expression of European solidarity with people in need all around the world. It aims to save lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, and safeguard the integrity and human dignity of populations affected by natural disasters and man-made crises.

Through the European Commission's Civil Protection and Humanitarian aid Operations department, the European Union helps millions of victims of conflict and disasters every year. With headquarters in Brussels and a global network of field offices, the EU provides assistance to the most vulnerable people on the basis of humanitarian needs.

Background Information: 

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA programme budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s programme budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, 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 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.

For more information, please contact:

Tamara Alrifai
UNRWA Spokesperson
+962 (0)79 090 0140