UNRWA launches 2016 Syria appeal (critical Palestinians not forgotten)

02 February 2016
Husseiniyeh, August 2015. © 2015 UNRWA Photo by Taghrid Mohammad

UNRWA today appealed to donors for US$ 414 million to meet the critical humanitarian needs of Palestine refugees affected by the conflict in Syria, which is now entering its sixth year. The Agency’s 2016 Emergency Appeal for the Syria Regional Crisis aims to support 450,000 Palestine refugees inside Syria, as well as the 60,000 who have fled to Lebanon and Jordan.

“In the midst of the broader Syrian tragedy, and with just two days to go before the London donors’ conference, it is critical that the plight of the Palestine refugee community is not underestimated or forgotten,” urged UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl. 

Palestine refugees have been dramatically affected by the crisis due to their proximity to conflict areas inside Syria, high rates of poverty and the tenuous legal status of those forced to flee to Lebanon and Jordan.

Over 60 per cent of those remaining inside Syria (280,000 people) are internally displaced, and an estimated 95 per cent (430,000) are in need of sustained humanitarian assistance. This includes tens of thousands who are trapped in areas of active conflict, with extremely constrained access to humanitarian assistance. Around 42,000 Palestinian refugees from Syria (PRS) have fled to Lebanon and 18,000 to Jordan where they face a marginalized and precarious existence.

Despite major operational challenges caused by the conflict, UNRWA is able to provide emergency assistance alongside its well-established programmes in health, education, relief and social services, infrastructure and camp improvement, and microfinance. Delivered by nearly 4,000 staff members, the vast majority of whom are Palestinians, this support provides a critical lifeline in the face of growing hardship and peril.

“Acute and protracted conflict environments such as Syria call for both immediate humanitarian aid and longer-term development responses,” said Krähenbühl. “UNRWA offers both of these as part of one sustained intervention.”

Out of the Agency’s total Emergency Appeal funding requirements of US$ 414 million, US$ 329 million will support the humanitarian needs of Palestine refugees in Syria, US$ 63 million will support the humanitarian needs of PRS in Lebanon, and US$ 17 million will support the humanitarian needs of PRS in Jordan. US$ 4.7 million is required for emergency response outside of the purview of these three field offices, including cash assistance for Palestinian families from Syria in Gaza, regional coordination, support and advocacy.

“Our ability to respond to the mounting needs of Palestine refugees affected by the conflict in Syria depends on the generosity of donors and host governments alike. We urge donors to maintain and increase this support in 2016 to mitigate the worst humanitarian impacts of the conflict, enhance the protection of civilians and prevent further suffering,” said the Commissioner-General, adding, "It should be a priority to assist people in the Middle East."

You can help Palestine refugees coping with the crisis in Syria by donating to the UNRWA Emergency Appeal for the Syria Regional Crisis [Press here].  

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.

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