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1. In the last paragraph of Part Three of his Progress Report to the Secretary-General for transmission to the members of the United Nations (A/648 Part III) the late Mediator, Count Bernadotte, wrote:
3. The urgency of the need for assistance has been accentuated. The amounts contributed in response to the Mediator's appeal have been far from adequate to meet the need. The problem is far beyond the capacity of the Arab States and the refugees must therefore look to the generosity of the world.
The Present Situation
4. The situation of the Palestine refugees is now critical, and unless adequate and effective aid comes quickly, their position will become desperate within a few weeks. Indeed there is already a marked increase in preventable deaths, especially among children.
5. The rapid deterioration that has set in since the time of the Mediator's report is due mainly to three factors.
(b) Secondly, the approach of winter has made the question of shelter a crucial one. During the summer and early autumn hundreds of thousands of refugees were able to live in the open air or under makeshift tents, but the onset of cold and rainy weather, particularly in the higher altitudes where large numbers are still concentrated, makes other arrangements essential. Approximately 95,000 of the refugees are living under trees, without shelter of any kind; while at least 120,000 are unprovided with blankets, since the bulk of the refugees left their homes on foot at short notice taking little or nothing with them. Owing to these conditions among others, the health situation, which in the early stages had not been serious, is now beginning to cause concern: malaria and typhoid are markedly on the increase, and other diseases have made an appearance.
(c) Thirdly, as a result of careful investigation of the numbers involved, the immense scope of the problem has now become more apparent. Part Three of the Mediator's progress report tentatively placed the total number of Arab refugees at 360,000; and the total of Jewish refugees within Jewish controlled territory at 7,000. The figure for Arab refugees must now be revised upwards to 472,000 (see Appendix A). This very substantial increase is partly due to more complete registration and to the fact that any who were temporarily able to support themselves have exhausted their resources and are applying for relief. But it is also due to an increase in the actual number of refugees as those previously in hiding in Israeli-held territory filter through the lines. The present distribution is approximately as follows: