Palestine Refugees in Lebanon: Struggling to Survive

19 January 2022
© 2021 UNRWA Photo by Maysoun Mustafa

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) launched today a Special Appeal to support Palestine refugees in Lebanon who are confronted with increasing hardship and vulnerability. Funds raised by this appeal will provide vital assistance to Palestine refugees from Lebanon (PRL) and Palestine refugees from Syria (PRS) in Lebanon affected by the deep socio-economic and COVID-19 crises. 

“While the current crisis affects everyone in Lebanon, Palestine refugees are enduring particular hardship given their already marginalized status in the country,” said Claudio Cordone, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon.  “They are struggling to survive and their needs have increased dramatically, with poverty rates reaching 87 per cent among the PRS. The appeal today outlines the need for an enhanced and sustained programme of assistance to ensure a dignified life for all Palestine refugees.”

The Special Appeal 2022 asks donors to support increased and regular cash assistance for food and other basic needs for vulnerable Palestine refugees, in addition to emergency funding for hospitalization, education, and camp services, including fuel for water supply and solid waste disposal. The appeal also asks for support to the Agency’s protection activities at a time of increased abuse and violence in the family and community.

The Appeal is part of the overall budget of US$ 1.6 billion for 2022 that the Agency needs to fulfil its mandate to provide millions of Palestine refugees vital services including education, health, and food assistance to address the humanitarian needs in Gaza, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. The Agency in 2021, as in previous years, has repeatedly come close to running out of funds.

UNRWA Deputy Commissioner-General Leni Stenseth warned against the chronic Agency budget underfunding affecting both its core and emergency budgets.  “The quality and actual continuation of critical UNRWA services such as health, education and social services are constantly at risk,” she said. “I am appealing to the international community to help maintain the vital and irreplaceable role that UNRWA plays in the region, especially in Lebanon where humanitarian needs increase as the economy continues to collapse. Palestine refugees like everyone else need support as well as hope for a better future.”

The UNRWA Special Appeal 2022 for Lebanon was launched with the participation of Dr. Najat Rochdi, UN Deputy Special Coordinator and Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon, Mr. Ashraf Dabbour, Palestinian Ambassador to Lebanon, and Dr. Bassel Al Hassan, Chair of the Lebanese Palestinian Dialogue Committee.