Palestinian refugees hardest hit in the West Bank
According to new UNRWA report
12 December 2011
According to a new report by UNRWA, despite modest economic good news in the West Bank, the number of unemployed refugees grew by nearly one per cent in the first half of the year, to over 50,000 people, as unemployment generally in the West Bank declined. At 27.4 per cent, the unemployment rate for refugees is about 5 percentage points above the average of the West Bank as a whole.
“These figures show once more that the refugees continue to bear the brunt of economic hardship in the West Bank,” said UNRWA spokesman, Chris Gunness, “making the need for our emergency services greater than ever.”
The report finds that “in the context of 3.7 per cent overall employment growth, refugees lost ground in the public sector, where their employment declined 2.9 per cent in the sequential period. Total employment growth of refugees was about 1.5 per cent year over year, well below the overall rate of job growth for non-refugees in the West Bank.”
According to the report, the average nominal daily wage fell 2.3 per cent for employed refugees in the first half of 2011 relative to the second half of 2010. At US$ 25.8, it was 14.4 per cent below that of non-refugees. And with the average number of days worked per month falling 1.1 per cent, the average nominal monthly wage for refugees declined 3.4 per cent to US$ 565.4, or nearly 15 per cent below that of non-refugees.
Download the full report (PDF)
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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.
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