UNRWA and US Meet PRS in Beqaa
On 19 November, Ann Dismorr, Lebanon field director for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), accompanied a delegation from the United States, headed by Kelly Clements, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM), to Quob Elias in the mid-Beqaa area. A number of Palestine refugees from Syria (PRS) have sought shelter there from the ongoing conflict.
The delegation met with PRS families and inquired about their living conditions. The refugees highlighted the difficult situations they are facing, including the rental prices and poor sanitation in the area. However, they expressed their appreciation for the support provided by UNRWA, especially the ATM cards that the Agency launched last month in Lebanon.
The Director of UNRWA Affairs briefed the delegation on UNRWA services to PRS. Describing the Agency’s cash assistance, Ms. Dismorr noted that “the ATM system gives its beneficiaries more dignity in their plight.”
The United States remains the largest bilateral UNRWA supporter, for both emergency activities as well as core programming in education, health and relief. Since 2012, the US has provided US$ 14 million to support the Agency’s emergency efforts on behalf of Palestine refugees from Syria.
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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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