Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Photo: Mohammed Asad/APA
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) promised to transfer cash aid to Palestinians from Syria in Lebanon before Eid, according to popular committees in Lebanon.
Secretary of the popular Palestinian committees in Lebanon, Abu Eyad AlShaalan, said, following a meeting with UNRWA officials a couple of days earlier, that the Agency’s Deputy Commissioner-General, Leni Stenseth of Norway, and Director General of UNRWA’s Lebanon Operations, Claudio Cordone, gave positive pledges.
AlShaalan added that cash grants for the months of April and May will be shelled out in two weeks in USD or its equivalent exchange rate.
UNRWA officials also pledged to disburse future cash grants on a monthly-basis and to work out the hurdles faced by bachelors who are non-holders of Lebanese visas.
UNRWA’s cash assistance represents a lifeline for the cash-stripped Palestinian refugee families who have been struggling with squalid conditions in Lebanon as a result of the multiple hardships inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic and the absence of legal protection.
In its fact sheet entitled “Syria Regional Crisis Emergency Appeal 2021”, UNRWA said that Palestinian refugees from Syria (PRS) in Lebanon are grappling with increased hardship and vulnerability, due to long-term displacement and difficult socio-economic conditions, coupled with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to UNRWA, 87% of PRS live in poverty in the Lebanese territories.
Nearly 65% of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon (PRL) live in poverty.
UNRWA’s factsheet indicates that 257,000 Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are in need of UNRWA emergency cash assistance.
Over 470,000 refugees are registered with UNRWA in Lebanon. About 45 per cent of them live in the country’s 12 refugee camps. Conditions in the camps are dire and characterized by overcrowding, poor housing conditions, unemployment, poverty and lack of access to justice.
Palestinians in Lebanon do not enjoy several important rights; for example, they cannot work in many professions and cannot own property (real estate). Because they are not formally citizens of another state, Palestine refugees are unable to claim the same rights as other foreigners living and working in Lebanon.