UNHCR launches $13 million appeal for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon
"Almost every Palestine refugee in Lebanon lives in poverty," UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini says.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) requested $13 million in funding on Friday “to assist Palestinians in Lebanon”, which is experiencing an unprecedented economic crisis.
UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini said in a statement that "Palestine refugees, living in overcrowded camps... are at the end of their rope," stressing that "almost every Palestine refugee in Lebanon lives in poverty".
He went on to say that UNRWA was "urgently appealing for $13 million" in funding for cash assistance to families, primary healthcare services and to keep the agency's schools open until the end of this year.
"Our assistance is a drop in an ocean of despair," Lazzarini stated.
According to the World Bank, Lebanon has been in the grip of one of the worst economic crises in recent global history for the past three years.
"Unprecedented levels of poverty, skyrocketing unemployment rates, and increasing despair are... severely hitting the Lebanese people and Syrian and Palestine refugees," Lazzarini said.
Lebanon is home to approximately 210,000 Palestinian refugees, including 30,000 who fled Syria after the conflict erupted in 2011, as per UNRWA.
The country also houses over a million Syrian refugees.
Why are Palestinians living in refugee camps?
During the Nakba (catastrophe) in 1948, Zionist groups committed massacres in Palestinian villages and cities to expel Palestinians from their homeland. Palestinians had no other choice but to flee their own homes and go to nearby countries, such as Lebanon.
According to UNRWA, there are about 12 refugee camps in Lebanon that are holding about 45% of the refugees. Since 1948, about 450,000 Palestinian refugees have registered in Lebanon.
The residents of these refugee camps often refer to themselves as “forgotten people” and feel a sense of isolation and neglect.
Comfort and privacy are considered by most of the residents as luxuries.