UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini speaks on Occasion of the Brussels IV Conference on Syria: Supporting the future of Syria and the region, 30 June 2020. (UNRWA photo)
UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini called on the international community to tune up support for Palestine refugees and help increase the Agency’s funds.
In a statement delivered on Occasion of the Brussels IV Conference on Syria: Supporting the future of Syria and the region, 30 June 2020, Lazzarini said that nearly 10 years into the conflict in Syria, some 440,000 Palestine refugees remain in the country. They are, according to the UN, among the most vulnerable groups inside the country.
“The harrowing images of the destruction of camps, among them the famous Yarmouk camp, still haunt all those who have lost their homes and livelihoods. More than 90% of Palestine refugee households in Syria live in absolute poverty”, the statement read. “Nearly 45,000 have fled to Lebanon or Jordan”.
According to Lazzarini, too often, Palestine refugees continue to be missing from the narrative of the Syria crisis.
“And now COVID-19 is fueling a pandemic of abject poverty among Palestine refugees. Despair and hopelessness are growing”, he said.
“Palestine refugees rely on UNRWA for cash assistance to cover their basic needs. They send their children to our schools. They use our health clinics. They acquire skills at our vocational training centres”, added the statement.
“But this has come at a high cost in Syria. 19 UNRWA staff have been killed and 27 are missing or presumed detained. 40 per cent of our schools and 25 per cent of our clinics are unusable”, it said.
“Despite these human tragedies and setbacks, we cannot fail the Palestine refugees”, stated the UN official. “Like the Host countries, UNRWA is struggling to sustain critical services, and this is due to lack of funding at a time when needs are growing.”
He called on the international humanitarian community to acknowledge the plight of Palestine refugees from Syria and provide the necessary funding for UNRWA to meet their needs.