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UNRWA Launches Ramadan Appeal for Palestine Refugees in Syria
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has launched a Ramadan Appeal for US$ 27 million to enable Palestine refugees trapped in Syria to be able to buy food in Ramadan.
Announcing the appeal, Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissioner-General of UNRWA, said: “As we come up to Ramadan, we can foresee a prospect of thousands of Palestinian refugees going hungry because very simply they do not have enough money to buy food. Their livelihoods and often their houses have been destroyed. The US$ 27 million requested would enable us to distribute cash to 440,000 of the needy through our proven and very reliable cash-distribution network.”
At the outset of the Syria crisis, there were approximately 500,000 Palestinian refugees registered in Syria. As a result of the conflict, an additional 40,000 Palestine refugees, who had not previously required assistance, have registered with UNRWA over the last two years. A further 80,000 have fled Syria, mainly to Lebanon, but it has become increasingly difficult for Palestinians to enter any of the neighbouring countries. Of the approximately 460,000 who remain, almost all have been badly affected by the crisis, requiring continuous humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs. At least half have fled their homes, sometimes more than once.
Chris Gunness, UNRWA spokesman, said: “Many of the people we are helping will definitely go hungry if we do not receive the funds requested. Our budget for the month of Ramadan is US$ 27 million short. Donors can be reassured that donations will reach the right people. Our programme has already been going on since August 2011. US$ 83 million has already been distributed directly to the needy using our cash-distribution network.”
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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