UNRWA launches appeals for US$ 813 million for emergency interventions for the occupied Palestinian territory and the Syria Regional Crisis

09 January 2017
UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl (centre) launches the 2017 UNRWA emergency appeals for the oPt and the Syria regional crisis, Palais des Nations, Geneva. 9 January 2017. UN Photo by Violaine Martin

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) launched today two international appeals totaling US$ 813 million to fund the emergency response to the crisis in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and to meet the critical humanitarian needs of Palestine refugees affected by the conflict in Syria, including those displaced into Lebanon and Jordan. UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl said: “1.6 million Palestine refugees, who are more insecure than ever and whose needs are growing, require our resolute action. I call for urgent and generous support from the international community.”

The Agency’s 2017 Emergency Appeal for the occupied Palestinian territory, totalling US$ 402 million, aims to address the priority humanitarian needs of Palestine refugees in both Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

In Gaza some 911,500 refugees will continue to benefit from UNRWA emergency food aid. The Agency will also provide rental assistance to over 6,500 refugee families who lost their homes during the 2014 hostilities and support for repairs for over 50,000 refugee families whose homes were damaged or destroyed.

In the West Bank including East Jerusalem, the UNRWA Cash-for-Work Programme will benefit some 8,000 food-insecure Palestine refugees. A further 155,000 Palestine refugees will receive food vouchers and the Agency's food distribution programme will bring benefits to 36,000 vulnerable Bedouin and herders across Area C.

The Agency’s 2017 Emergency Appeal for the Syria Regional Crisis in the amount of US$ 411 million aims to provide humanitarian assistance, protection and basic services to 430,000 Palestine refugees inside Syria and in dire need of sustained assistance, as well as over 30,000 who have fled to Lebanon and  nearly 17,000  who have fled to Jordan, where they face a precarious existence.

With its dynamic and flexible operations, carried out by 4,000 mainly Palestinian staff, UNRWA is the largest direct provider of assistance to Palestine refugees affected by the Syria conflict. Interventions include cash assistance, water and sanitation, food and essential non-food items, shelter, health, education, livelihoods, microfinance and protection.

The Commissioner-General pointed out that “behind these daunting figures are real lives, such as that of Rana, a twelve-year-old UNRWA Palestinian student from Syria. A year ago her leg was destroyed in a double car bomb attack near her home in Qabr Essit refugee camp. UNRWA provided her with an artificial leg and helped her with the recovery process through physiotherapy, counselling and home adaptations. Thanks to the collaborative work of our health, education, and social services teams, she is reclaiming her life.”

There are many Ranas across Syria and UNRWA, with the support of the international community, remains committed to fostering dignity amid the most dramatic circumstances.

For more information, read the  2017 oPt emergency appeal fact sheet and the 2017 Syria emergency appeal fact sheet.

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:

Adnan Abu Hasna
UNRWA Media Adviser
+970 (0)59 942 8061
+970 (0)8 288 7531