News ID: 99056
Publish Date : 19 January 2022 - 21:59

BEIRUT (AP) – A UN agency
appealed Wednesday to the international community to donate tens of millions of dollars to help improve living conditions for Palestinians in Lebanon.
The appeal by the agency for Palestinian refugees, or UNRWA, is asking for an additional $87.5 million is to provide Palestinian refugees with cash assistance to the poorest, cover hospital expenses, as well as transportation for children so that they can go to school.
UNRWA says more than 210,000 Palestinian refugees are among the most vulnerable and that some basic commodities have become out of reach for many as Lebanon sinks deeper into the economic meltdown. It added that more than 58% of Palestinian refugees here have reduced the number of meals they eat every day.
About 400,000 Palestinian refugees and their descendants mostly live in a dozen refugee camps in Lebanon, set up for those who were pushed out of their homeland during fighting surrounding the regime’s occupation in 1948. An additional 27,000 Palestinians fled from Syria over the past decade during its deadly foreign-backed war.
Palestinian refugee Hiam Habib said UNRWA’s assistance was dropping while everything becomes so much more expensive. She spoke from the Palestinian refugee camp of Burj al-Barajneh in southern Beirut, a few miles away from UNRWA’s offices.
“We urge UNRWA to find solutions for us otherwise I will end up with my family in the street,” she said, sitting next to an electric heater, turned on to minimum power because it was working on a neighborhood’s private generator.
Lebanon’s crisis has left tens of thousands of people jobless, and nearly 80% of the country’s population of 6 million, including about 1.5 million Syrian and Palestinian refugees, live in poverty. The Lebanese pound has lost more than 90% of its value, wiping out the purchasing power of middle class and low-income families.
“The situation is dire,” said Claudio Cordone, director of UNRWA Affairs, Lebanon. He called on the agency’s partners to work together to help so that Palestinian refugees, “wherever they are, can live in dignity as they deserve.”
The resumption of U.S. support for the agency last year — which had been halted by the Trump administration — was offset by a reduction in funding by other donors, UNRWA’s head Philippe Lazzarini said in November.
Cordone told The Associated Press that UNRWA is struggling to ensure funding and needs the international community to match their political commitment to UNRWA.
Lebanon’s UN humanitarian coordinator, Najat Rochdi said tensions are growing as families increase the pressure on the agency to deliver regular services, as well as increase the relief assistance amid a sharp devaluation of the Lebanese pound.

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