UNRWA solicits support for Palestinian Refugees

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18 January 2022

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has announced that it seeks from the international community $1.6 billion in 2022

On January 18 2022, the UNRWA announced its 2022 operating budget to cope with essential operations, such as lifesaving services and programs, including education, health, and food aid to Palestinian refugees in the Middle East. The budget also proposes additional emergency funding to address humanitarian needs arising from the crisis in Gaza, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), Syria, and Lebanon.

The UNRWA, which began operations in 1949, is unique in its long-standing commitment to Palestinian refugees. Today, it is the only remaining lifeline to 5.6 million refugees. The UNRWA has a reputation as a pioneer in refugee service delivery, possibly the most efficient and cost-effective UN humanitarian agency, because of its extensive experience operating in crisis zones. As COVID–19 continues to pose serious health risks and exacerbates economic hardships across the region, it is estimated that 2.3 million Palestinian refugees are currently living in poverty. UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini faces a chronic budget shortfall that undermines its effort to provide humanitarian and human development support. Distress and despair have become the norm among Palestinian refugees, with many in Gaza, Syria, and Lebanon stating that they will use any means to leave the region.

The UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions from UN Member States and has pledged to engage in a comprehensive programming reform and modernization to satisfy requirements efficiently. Being fully funded throughout its entire range of services, the agency claims that it will enhance its efforts to break the cycle of despair among Palestinian refugees by giving $31.2 million in microfinance loans and making critical structural upgrades to refugee camps. Mr. Lazzarini stated that "[t]he sum requested by the UNRWA for 2022 will directly contribute to the well-being of Palestinian refugees, efforts to battle and contain COVID-19, and regional stability", pushing donors to contribute more. "The international community must supply UNRWA with enough and consistent funds so that we can continue to offer essential services."


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Author: Niranjana J Anil; Editor: Tiago Cotogni

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