Members of the UNRWA Advisory Commission see first-hand the Agency’s progress in rehabilitating installations in Yarmouk, Damascus, including Falloujeh school and the Yarmouk Services Centre, which includes a health centre and other administrative facilit
Following on the June meeting of the Advisory Commission (AdCom) on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in Beirut, several AdCom members visited Syria to see first-hand the services that UNRWA provides to Palestine Refugees living through the war.
The delegation included representatives from Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Palestine, Switzerland and the European Union. Accompanied by Amanya Michael-Ebye, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Syria, the delegation toured UNRWA installations in Ein el Tal near Aleppo and Yarmouk camp near Damascus to see the Agency’s role and needs in the two decimated camps. They also met with UNRWA staff to discuss the acute challenges facing the Agency as it seeks to deliver its mandate, given increased financial constraints and the increasing needs of Palestine Refugees.
Palestine Refugees across Syria continue to face the impact of the protracted conflict, worsening socio-economic conditions, increased poverty and soaring prices, all compounded by the devastating earthquakes of last February.
Expressing his immense gratitude for the support of the governments of UNRWA Advisory Commission representatives, Amanya-Ebye said, “UNRWA is grateful for the support received from the donors and counts on their continued support to implement its mandate in Syria. The visit will hopefully have helped the delegation understand better the importance of having a school, a health center and a regular flow of UNRWA services in Ein el Tal and Yarmouk camps.”
“We need additional funding for the UNRWA Syria, Lebanon and Jordan Emergency Appeal for 2023, which is only 16 per cent funded six months into the year. This is the lowest level of funding we have received by the mid-point of the year in the last six years. If this is not urgently addressed, UNRWA will not be in a position to provide critical cash and food assistance to very vulnerable refugees in Syria going forward”, he added.
Meeting with the refugee community, the delegation heard first-hand about their rising needs and the challenges they face.
“Although life has become extremely hard, the minor shelter repair project has helped us preserve our lives and alleviate our suffering. Many shelters in the camp are destroyed and need rehabilitation,” said Abu Ahmad, a Palestine Refugee who has benefitted from the UNRWA minor shelter repairs (MSR) project.
The delegates also heard harrowing testimonies from earthquake survivors and how the Agency was immediately on the ground to provide emergency assistance and to support them.
Highlighting the importance of the Agency’s vital role in supporting Palestine Refugees and upholding their rights, Member State attendees reaffirmed their commitment to support UNRWA deliver on its mandate to provide essential services to Palestine Refugees.
With the support of donors, UNRWA has over the last five years renovated its installations in Qabr Essit, Sbeineh, Khan Eshieh, and Dera'a camps that were also damaged during the conflict.
The UNRWA Minor Shelter Repairs (MSR) project as supported 110 of the most vulnerable Palestine Refugee returnee families in Ein el Tal and 303 vulnerable Palestine Refugee returnee families in Daraa
Some 4,500 Palestine Refugees (1,300 families) have returned to Yarmouk camp to date. UNRWA has rehabilitated its health centre there, as well as a school and services centre.