UN Data: 91% of Palestinian Refugees in Syria Live in Absolute Poverty

UN Data: 91% of Palestinian Refugees in Syria Live in Absolute Poverty

80% of PRS rely on UNRWA cash assistance as their main source of income.

Over 90 per cent of Palestine refugee households in Syria live in poverty and 40 per cent remain in protracted displacement as a result of conflict and the damage and destruction of their homes, warned the UN Agency for Palestine Refugees.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said in its 2020 Syria regional crisis emergency appeal that 126,000 Palestine refugees in Syria (PRS) are identified as extremely vulnerable; 89% live in poverty; 91% live in extreme poverty; and 80% rely on UNRWA cash assistance as their main source of income.

UNRWA also said that 55% of PRS do not possess valid legal residency documents; 100% of PRS are in need of winterization assistance; and 86% of PRS households are reported to be in debt.

UNRWA said that the continuous depreciation of the Syrian pound and the deteriorating socio-economic conditions experienced by all civilians in Syria during the last year have increased the hardship faced by Palestine refugees, whose resilience is at breaking point.

In 2019, UNRWA was confronted with unprecedented organizational and financial challenges, which put its ability to fulfill its mandate to the test. The decision of the United Nations General Assembly, in December 2019, to extend the UNRWA mandate until 2023 is a confirmation of the relevance of the Agency’s mission, pending a just and lasting solution to the plight of Palestine refugees.

By end of October 2019, UNRWA had only received 26 per cent of the funds required to deliver humanitarian assistance to some 438,000 Palestine refugees, who remain amongst those worst affected by the conflict in Syria. UNRWA was forced to scale down its livelihoods and vocational training activities, which are critical to the resilience of Palestine refugees.

In these circumstances, any interruption to UNRWA services would inflict major suffering, depriving vulnerable communities of their main – and often – sole source of assistance.

The Agency said that in 2020, ensuring sufficient and predictable funding to the UNRWA Syria Regional Crisis Emergency Appeal is crucial to prevent Palestine refugees in Syria from slipping into further misery and despair. It is also needed to maintain vital services for PRS in Lebanon and in Jordan, who live in conditions of marginalization and poverty, and are exposed to multiple protection vulnerabilities.

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