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        General Assembly
A/41/13 (SUPP)
23 September 1986

Original: Arabic/English/French

SUPPLEMENT No. 13 (A/41/13)



1 July 1985 - 30 June 1986


Symbols of United Nations documents are composed of capital letters combined with figures. Mention of such a symbol indicates a reference to a United Nations document.

In the present report, the term "West Bank" refers to the occupied West Bank of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the term "Jordan refers to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan excluding the occupied West Bank, wherever it is necessary to differentiate between these two Fields of the Agency's area of operations.

[Original: Arabic/English/French]

[23 September 1986]

Letter of transmittal ......................................................

Letter from the Chairman of the Advisory Commission of the
United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees
in the Near East to the Commissioner-General ...............................


INTRODUCTION ...............................................

UNRWA OPERATIONS ...........................................
1 - 17

18 - 51





The historical setting .................................

Eligibility, registration and camp administration ......

Highlights of operations in 1985-1986 ..................

Emergency operations ...................................

Co-operation with other United Nations and
non-governmental organizations .........................
18 - 23

24 - 28

29 - 43

44 - 48

49 - 51




III.BASIC PROGRAMMES AND ACTIVITIES ............................ 52 - 118 9



Education ..............................................

Health services ........................................

Relief services ........................................

Legal matters ..........................................
52 - 65

66 - 91

92 - 107

108 - 118




STATISTICAL INFORMATION ................................................

BODIES .................................................................



2 September 1986


I have the honor to submit my annual report to the General Assembly on the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) for the period 1 July 1985 to 30 June 1986, in compliance with the request in paragraph 21 of resolution 302 (IV) of 8 December 1949 and with paragraph 8 of resolution 1315 (XIII) of 12 December 1958.

In the introduction to the report (chapter I), I have focused on the continuing financial uncertainties facing UNRWA, caught as it is between fixed spending requirements and an uncertain level of annual voluntary contributions. Also stressed are the problems for the Agency arising from the tragic situation in Lebanon and the growing difficulties facing refugees in the Gaza Strip. Conditions in Lebanon have received much attention from members of the General Assembly; I am obliged now to urge the international community to give its early attention to an increasingly difficult situation in Gaza.

Chapter II of the report presents an overview of UNRWA's history followed by highlights of the Agency's operations during the reporting period as well as the emergency operations in Lebanon. Mention is also made of the closer relationships that are developing between UNRWA and non-governmental organizations.

As was the case last year, to make available the most up-to-date data to the General Assembly, UNRWA's 1987 budget and other financial information will be presented in an addendum to this report.

The two annexes give statistical data on UNRWA operations and programmes and references to documents of the General Assembly and other United Nations bodies related to the Agency's operations.

The members of the UNRWA Advisory Commission examined this report in draft, and their views have been given careful attention in preparing the final text. Its views are set forth in its Chairman's letter of 28 August 1986, of which I enclose a copy.

I have deemed it appropriate to maintain the established practice of showing the draft to representatives of the Government of Israel and to give consideration also to their comments, given that a major part of the Agency's operations is conducted in areas occupied by Israel since 1967.

Accept, Sir, the assurances of my highest consideration.

(Signed) Giorgio GIACOMELLI

The President of the
General Assembly
United Nations
New York


28 August 1986

Dear Mr. Giacomelli,

At its regular meeting at Vienna on 28 August 1986, the UNRWA Advisory Commission considered your draft report on the Agency's operations during the period 1 July 1985 to 30 June 1986, which is to be submitted to the United Nations General Assembly at its forty-first session.

The Commission reaffirms to the international community the importance of the Agency's continued fulfillment of its obligations to the Palestine refugees until a just solution to their problem is found, in accordance with United Nations resolutions. It further considers that the continued existence of the Agency contributes towards meeting the minimum needs of, and services to the Palestine refugees.

Realizing and understanding the financial straits of the Agency and the scarcity of resources available to it, the Commission supports the principle of long-term planning, takes note of the three-year plan that you put forward at the informal meeting of Governments on 22 and 23 May 1986 and urges you and the Working Group on the Financing of UNRWA to continue your efforts to obtain additional contributions to finance it, while taking into consideration all remarks on the plan expressed by the members of the Advisory Commission.

At the same time, it appeals to all Member States of the United Nations to contribute with sufficient generosity to enable UNRWA to continue to carry out its tasks, particularly health and education services. The Advisory Commission also wishes to draw your attention to General Assembly resolutions concerning the resumption of ration distribution to Palestine refugees throughout the area of operations.

In view of the continued suffering of the Palestine refugees in Lebanon, the threats to their lives and the destitution that they face because of their inability to leave their camps in search of work, the Commission considers that the Agency should continue to provide all its services to Palestine refugees.

The Commission shares your concern for the conditions under which the Palestine refugees live, especially those in south Lebanon, and for the attacks and killings to which they and the Agency's staff are exposed.

The Commission also notes with deep concern the increasing hardship in the conditions of refugees in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as a result of the decline in economic activity in both of them, which also led to increasing pressures on the Agency to expand relief services.

Recalling the General Assembly resolutions requesting you to reunify your headquarters at Beirut as soon as practicable, the Commission asks that you keep this in mind as a matter of priority The Commission also notes the offer of the Government of Jordan to host the headquarters at Amman in the mean time.

The Commission thanks the Arab host Governments for the valuable services that they continue to provide to the Palestine refugees in addition to the Agency's programmes. The Commission is also grateful to all Governments that continue to make annual contributions to the Agency. The Arab host Government is also hope that the Agency will continue to co-ordinate its programmes with them.

The Commission also thanks the Secretary-General of the United Nations for his support and the efforts that he personally exerts to facilitate the Agency’s mission.

Finally, the Commission expresses its deep appreciation to you for the fruitful efforts that you have exerted to lead the Agency out of its financial crisis and welcomes you, wishing you success in fulfilling this difficult humanitarian task. Likewise, it thanks all the staff of UNRWA.

(Signed) Subhi ABU KHALIL
Chairman of the Advisory Commission

Mr. Giorgio Giacomelli
Commissioner-General of the United Nations
Relief and Works Agency for Palestine
Refugees in the Near East


1. In this report, first as Commissioner-General of UNRWA, I am pleased to report that UNRWA has weathered the financial storm described by my predecessor in his report last year to the General Assembly, 1/ thanks to the several Governments who made special contributions and to austerity measures implemented within the organization. An addendum to the present annual report will show that the Agency's income and expenditure in 1986 are expected to be more nearly in balance than they were last year at this time. This balance has been maintained in large measure by considerable sacrifice on the part of out area staff, most of whom are Palestine refugees.

2. During the past year I have traveled widely, establishing contact with Governments, both donors and those that host the Palestine refugees, and I have had ample, opportunity to review with them the evolution of the Agency. In its over 36 years of service to the Palestine refugees, UNRWA has developed from essentially an emergency relief operation into an organization dedicated largely to education and training. The next biggest programme is its health service. Today, relief services in terms of resources, rank third, reflecting the improved living conditions of most refugees. This improvement is uneven, however: many refugees in Lebanon are living under dangerous and harsh conditions and those of the Gaza Strip face worsening economic conditions.

3. This evolution in the focus of UNRWA programmes from relief to education has led to contradictions along the way. First among them is the contradiction between the Agency's fixed financial commitments and the uncertain income derived from voluntary annual contributions. UNRWA's education and health programmes cannot be switched on or off at will according to the Agency's cash situation; they are continuing public services that Governments normally provide, and their scope is determined largely by the size of the population served. A Government providing such services can increase its income by various means when the population increases; UNRWA cannot. It can only cut expenses by cutting programmes to fit if its income is inadequate.

4. Members of the UNRWA Advisory Commission, at their regular meeting in 1985, endorsed a suggestion that a gathering of concerned Governments be convened for informal consultations on the financial plight of the Agency. Accordingly, I invited representatives of some 27 Governments, drawn from the UNRWA Advisory Commission, the Working Group on the Financing of UNRWA and from the larger contributors, to meet at Vienna on 22 and 23 May 1986 for this purpose.

5. The May meeting focused on the analysis of UNRWA's current programmes outlined in a medium-term financial plan presented at the meeting. That plan, the Agency's first effort at multi-year planning, sought to project minimum financial requirements over the next three years (1987-1989). It forecast that UNRWA's income must increase by about 5 per cent a year over the period just to maintain present programmes. This conclusion results mainly from the anticipated increase in the number of children eligible to attend UNRWA schools. Every 50 pupils means an additional teacher; 100 more pupils means a new classroom, used by two groups of children in morning and afternoon shifts; and the annual increase in the Palestine refugee school population is measured not in hundreds, but in thousands.

6. The medium-term plan is based on the minimum income that UNRWA needs to continue providing its present services. The Arab host Governments in the countries where UNRWA operates rightly point out that the services we provide do not cover all of the refugees' needs. I am fully aware of this and of the heavy financial burden that host Governments are bearing. There is much more that should be done and UNRWA would do more if it had the resources, but I am obliged to say that if the Agency were to prepare its budget on the basis of expanding its activities to cover the additional needs it could further complicate the difficulties experienced in just assuring adequate resources to maintain present programme levels.

7. Each delegation at the May meeting reaffirmed its commitment to the Palestine refugees. This assurance should dispel the fears of some that the international community intends to abandon its responsibility toward them. Delegates recognized the need for the Agency to continue its operations, both for humanitarian and political reasons. They understand also that, the Agency's role in both of these areas contributes to stability and by so doing facilitates the task of those who seek a just and lasting peace in the region.

8. Most delegates clearly believed that UNRWA's education programme should continue to have the highest priority. They noted that graduates from the UNRWA professional and vocational training centres are playing an important part in the economic and social development of the region, and they encouraged the Agency to expand its vocational training programme.

9. Donors confirmed their willingness to go on supporting the Agency, and I was heartened in particular by the readiness of some Governments to make an extra effort. Many participants endorsed the validity of the Agency's multi-year financial planning. They emphasized the need to broaden support for UNRWA by increasing the number of contributors and the size of contributions.

10. During my travels and contacts with government and non-government officials, I am happy to report I found great sympathy and support for UNRWA activities, but it was made abundantly clear that nearly every Government has budgetary problems, which constrain the resources available for contribution to UNRWA. A number of Governments have expressed a desire to increase their level of support; others have genuinely regretted being unable to do so at this time. I understand the problems facing these Governments, but I must continue to urge that all consider carefully the consequences, both for the refugees and for their own interests, should the Agency be forced to turn over to others responsibility for some of its services. Our fund-raising efforts, in line with the recommendation of the Advisory Commission, will continue and as the present report is being written plans are in process for special fund-raising missions to visit a number of capitals later this year.

11. Much is said in this report about the tragic situation in Lebanon, where a seemingly endless cycle of violence is taking a terrible toll among the Lebanese and refugee populations alike. I am proud to report that despite the numerous difficulties encountered daily, UNRWA has been able to carry out its mission in Lebanon thanks to the selfless dedication of our staff, both area and international. These men and women have been constantly exposed to danger and during the year covered by the present annual report 5 UNRWA employees were killed, bringing the total during the past 4 years to 22 staff members killed, 17 wounded and 8 missing. The latter includes the kidnapped British journalist, Alec Collett, whose fate remains unknown.

12. Others will long bear physical or mental scars in witness of their service in Lebanon. Despite this high price that must be paid, we are resolved to pursue UNRWA operations in Lebanon for as long as it is humanly possible to do, so. One essential pre-condition for this will be the assurance that I have I sought from the Government of Lebanon that the Agency’s staff will be able to travel freely and safely throughout the country in carrying out their humanitarian task.

13. The plight of refugees living in the Gaza Strip is another situation to which I would like to invite Member States' attention. There, in an area of some 370 square kilometers, live more than half a million residents - two thirds of them refugees - resulting in a population density of nearly 1,400 people per square kilometer. There is a serious shortage of adequate housing and increasing numbers of refugees are finding it difficult to obtain employment. There is a growing sense of despair and hopelessness among the refugees, one consequence of which is the increasing and more strident demand upon the Agency for additional services, which limited resources make impossible to meet.

14. Due to declining economic activity in the region, unemployment has been added to other hardships faced by refugees in the Gaza Strip. As a consequence, there is added pressure upon the Agency to extend special hardship assistance to families experiencing economic difficulties. There is also heightened demand for UNRWA’s assistance in obtaining employment, either with the Agency in the Gaza Strip or elsewhere.

15. Another alarming development in the Gaza Strip is the increasing salinity of water supplies. Because of expanded irrigation and other engineering works, some experts estimate that twice as much water is being pumped out of the ground as is flowing in. This fact, coupled with the lack of satisfactory waste disposal facilities, heightens the danger of pollution from seepage in an area where parts of some camps already suffer from unhealthy environmental conditions. Continued settlement activity in the Gaza Strip tends to compound further unsatisfactory living conditions by reducing the amount of land available for agriculture, and by increasing the pressure on the insufficient water supply.

16. I believe I have a duty to draw the attention of Member States to the deteriorating conditions in the Gaza Strip and urge that the international community give serious consideration to what can be done to ease conditions there. This problem warrants immediate attention.

17. UNRWA's mandate will expire on 30 June 1987. I believe UNRWA's services to refugees should be continued until a peaceful settlement is achieved and recommend that members of the General Assembly extend the UNRWA mandate for a further period. If this is done, I hope that members will, at the same time, address again the question of the resources required so that UNRWA will not have to face the financial difficulties of the recent past. With a more stable financial basis, UNRWA can continue to play its part in creating the conditions in which lasting peace can be sought and found in the Middle East.


A. The historical setting

18. In 1948-1949, about three quarters of a million Palestinians became refugees in the Near East as a result of hostilities before and after part of the mandated territory of Palestine became the State of Israel.

19. The United Nations General Assembly, in resolution 194 (III) of 11 December 1948, outlined a solution to the Palestine refugee question in which it resolved, inter alia, that "refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date and that compensation should be paid to the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible".

20. Emergency assistance to the refugees was initially provided by international voluntary agencies. When it became apparent that these refugees would be unable to return to their homes at an early date, the General Assembly, by resolution 302 IV of 8 December 1949, voted to set up the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to carry out relief and works programmes. UNRWA began operations on 1 May 1950.

21. Early works programmes, designed to facilitate rehabilitation of the refugees, proved impossible both because of prevailing regional economic conditions and because of refugee and other resistance to measures thought to be leading to their resettlement without the commitment of the international community having been fulfilled. Direct relief assistance, which dominated the Agency's activities at the outset, gradually diminished in relative importance over the years as more refugees became self-supporting, largely though programmes of general, and vocational education.

22. The increasing focus on education, including in particular vocational training, has meant that the overwhelming majority of the refugees are able to avail themselves of existing employment opportunities, both in the areas where they reside and throughout the Arab world. They have thereby made an important contribution to the economic life of the region.

23. As resolution 194 (III) could not be implemented, the General Assembly has regularly renewed the mandate of UNRWA. Its main role evolved and is now to provide services in education, relief and health care, which closely resemble in quality and quantity the services offered by national Governments to non-refugee communities in the Near East. UNRWA's present mandate expires on 30 June 1987, and it will be for the forty-first session of the General Assembly to address the question of an extension.

B. Eligibility, registration and camp administration

24. Eligibility for UNRWA services is limited to registered Palestine refugees, defined by the Agency as persons who had been living in Palestine for at least two years prior to the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict and who, as a result of it had lost their homes and means of livelihood and were in need. To be eligible to receive UNRWA services registered refugees and their descendants must be living in the UNRWA area of operations – Jordan, Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic and the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

25. In addition, the Agency also distributes food rations provided by the Government of Jordan to some 193,000 persons displaced as the result of the 1967 hostilities and the occupation by Israel of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

26. The number of refugees registered with the Agency on 30 June 1986 was 2,145,794 (see table 1). Of these 1,812,127 were eligible for all Agency services; the remainder were eligible for limited services only.

27. Less than one third of the refugees are registered as living in camps (see table 2). Persons displaced as a result of hostilities in 1967 and a small number of other unregistered persons also reside in the camps. The Agency does not administer the refugee camps and not responsible for the maintenance of law order. It provides health, education and relief services to refugees living in and outside camps, maintains the installations required for the provision of these services and furnishes other municipal-type facilities in some camps.

28. Over the years many self-help projects aimed at improving facilities and camp living conditions have been completed. The Agency contributed part of the cost of these projects. The rest of the cost has been met, in the form of labor materials or cash, by the refugees themselves and by communities, Governments, municipalities or other sources.

C. Highlights of operations in 1985-1986

29. In the reporting period, the situation in Lebanon remained the most serious operational problem facing the Agency. Since 1 July 1995, Palestine refugees, like others, were affected by the continuing deterioration of the security situation in Lebanon and have suffered many casualties. UNRWA operations were particularly affected by fighting and violence in the Saida area, at Tripoli and at Beirut, where the refugee camps of Shatila and Burj el-Barajneh have been the targets of repeated attacks. Sporadic Israeli air raids have also caused death and destruction among refugees.

30. In spite of such grave difficulties, the UNRWA staff in Lebanon succeeded in keeping most Agency installations open and normal services running, except when installations were under fire, had been destroyed or when access to them was prevented by battle. Once an installation was damaged, UNRWA sought other accommodation or repaired the damage while, whenever possible, continuing to provide services through alternative facilities. Security conditions have prevented the Agency from reopening its Vocational Training Centre at Siblin near Saida. 2/ Tentative provision has been made in the Agency's 1987 budget to reopen the Centre should security conditions permit.

31. In addition to regular operations, UNRWA provided emergency assistance to refugees displaced during and immediately after periods of heavy fighting. It also helped refugees living in camps to repair their battle-damaged shelters.

32. The chaotic, situation at Beirut also had an increasingly serious impact on UNRWA's ability to supervise certain operations from its field Office. There were frequent periods when staff were unable to get to work. In an effort to ease that problem the Commissioner- General decided to open a small sub-office at Larnacea, Cyprus, in 1985, to which 2 international and 12 area staff were subsequently transferred. This led to an improvement in the ability of the Agency to carry out basic administrative and financial services for the benefit of the refugees in Lebanon.

33. During the reporting period, 5 UNRWA employees were killed in Lebanon, 3 were seriously wounded and 18 kidnapped or detained.

34. The Commissioner-General's decision to implement a number of austerity measures in 1985, as part of the effort to reduce the serious gap between anticipated expenditures and income, was a matter of great concern to the refugees and to host Governments, even though the level of basic programmes was maintained. Although they continue to, press their view that the Agency should do more for the refugees and should restore the basic ration programme suspended in 1982 due to financial constraints, the host Governments have been helpful in assisting UNRWA to overcome its difficulties. For example, when the Agency experienced a critical shortage of flour in late 1985, the Government of Jordan loaned it sufficient stocks to maintain distribution to special Hardship Cases in Jordan until new supplies could be obtained. The Government of Jordan also provided effective support for the Commissioner-General's efforts to raise the additional funds needed to avoid further cost-saving measures.

35. Owing to lack of funds, in recent years the Agency has generally been able to carry out only the most essential maintenance work to buildings and installations. As a result many have deteriorated.

36. In June 1986, the Syrian Government responded to the Agency's requests for a more favorable exchange rate, advising that henceforth the tourist rate of exchange would apply to United Nations transactions. In so doing, the Syrian Arab Republic made a valuable contribution to reducing the projected shortfall in UNRWA's 1986 income and made it easier for prospective donors to fund much-needed construction of new school and other facilities in the Syrian Arab Republic.

37. In 1983, the Israeli authorities in the Gaza Strip began applying certain 1960 Egyptian laws requiring permits from local authorities to build within refugee camps. These laws had never been applied to UNRWA nor had they ever been intended to apply to UNRWA when originally promulgated, a view confirmed in writing by the Egyptian Government. Following interruption of several Agency construction projects, agreement was eventually achieved on practical arrangements calling for co-ordination of construction plans with the local authorities but without subjecting Agency operations to outside control. During the reporting year, this requirement was expanded to include co-ordination of the Agency's plans to repair and renovate shelters of Special Hardship families. This has been a source of some difficulty, especially where the refugees concerned live in places that the authorities are trying to clear by persuading families to move to government housing projects. These poor refugee families cannot afford to build new houses elsewhere and therefore need the Agency's minimal assistance in repairing their present shelters.

38. After prolonged negotiations between the Governments of Egypt and Israel, a solution was finally found to the problem of the 4,600 refugees left stranded on the Egyptian side of the international boundary at Rafah when Israel withdrew from the Sinai in April 1982. The solution provides for a phased return of the refugees to the Gaza Strip for settlement in the Tel al-Sultan housing project near Rafah. Financial help will be given to the refugees by the Egyptian Government while the Israeli occupation authorities will provide land and facilities. The combined aid falls short of the amount estimated to be required for a refugee family to build a suitable new home.

39. The Agency has been providing services to these stranded refugees since 1982, including elementary and preparatory education for some 1,2000 refugee children and basic health care focusing mainly on mother and child health services. These activities have been supervised by regular visits from the Gaza field office staff. Rations, blankets and clothing have been distributed to the majority of these refugees, most of whom are unemployed and living in hardship. The Agency looks forward to their return as they will then again have access to UNRWA schools, clinics and welfare services at Rafah, as was the case prior to April 1982.

40. The Government of Israel has stated its intention to stress programmes to improve the quality of life for inhabitants of the occupied territories. The Agency welcomes this development. Nevertheless, regional economic problems confronting refugees have adversely affected the standard of living for some families during the reporting period.

41. The Agency's working relations with the authorities in the West Bank have improved. They have been more responsive in providing information on and in allowing Agency officials to visit detained staff members. At the same time curfews on camps and arrests of refugees continue, and the power of administrative detention has been used for the first time in recent years. The policy of sealing or demolishing shelters has also occasionally been applied, thereby depriving innocent family members of those accused of their accommodation.

42. Increased restraint shown by the Israeli authorities with respect to entering Agency premises has contributed to reducing the number of security incidents affecting the operation of training centres and schools. A number of camp entrances earlier sealed by the Israeli authorities have been reopened. Government officials have also expressed concern that the Agency's financial difficulties might require reductions in services at a time when those services should be improved in the interest of better standards of living for refugees.

43. The Israeli authorities cleared three camps in the Jericho area of seriously deteriorated vacant shelters that had been evacuated by refugees during the June 1967 war. In agreements with the Agency in July and October 1985, the Israeli Government pledged that "the areas, when cleared, will not be used by the Israeli authorities, who will return these to the sole possession of UNRWA for appropriate use by UNRWA in accordance with agreed procedures". A study has been undertaken to determine the feasibility of various uses for the vacant land in these three camps that could benefit refugee families.

D. Emergency operations

44. The reporting period started in Lebanon with the Agency providing assistance to the refugees who suffered as result of the fighting around and in the Beirut camps in June 1985. Some 18,000 refugees fled from the affected camps to other parts of Beirut, Saida, Tyre, Tripoli and the Beqa’a Valley. To these refugees and those who remained in the camps, numbering some 25,000 persons altogether, the Agency provided food, blankets and household items. Later in 1985 the Agency gave some $1,406,233 in direct cash aid to the residents of these camps to help them repair their shelters.

45. In spite of intensive efforts sponsored by the Lebanese Government, including the formation of special force to take charge of security in West Beirut, sporadic outbreaks of fighting continued in and around the two main Beirut camps throughout the period, culminating in the resumption of heavy fighting in mid-May 1986.

46. In mid-September 1985, fierce fighting broke out at Tripoli and lasted for about three weeks. The refugees who suffered most during this round of fighting were those living in the town. When the fighting stopped, the Agency provided them with normal services.

47. Despite these difficulties, the Agency has continued to function in Lebanon. Health teams operated from temporary quarters when clinics were damaged or destroyed or when the movement of refugees necessitated it. Schools continue to function as and when they can, sometimes sharing accommodation with other schools. Some schools, however, particularly in the Beirut area, lost a considerable number of working days and will need to continue operations, until at least late July to complete the school year curriculum. Schools in the Sabra Quarter and Mar Elias and three schools in Shatila Camp were inoperative for longer periods because of the security situation and will not be able to complete the curriculum until well into the next school year.

48. Food and other benefits have been distributed to Special Hardship Cases and other welfare programmes, have continued to function in Lebanon. Damaged Agency-owned or rented buildings have been repaired, sometimes more than once, roads have been re-laid, water supply installations repaired or replaced and electricity supplies restored.

E. Co-operation with other United Nations and non-governmental organizations

49. Co-operation with other bodies in the United Nations system particularly the United Nations Development programme, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Children's Fund, the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization in Palestine, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon and the International Labor Organization has greatly facilitated the Agency's tasks in all fields of operation.

50. Co-operation between UNRWA and non-governmental organizations was furthered through consultations held in February 1986, at Amman, Jordan, under the joint sponsorship of UNRWA and the International Council of Voluntary Agencies. The meeting, the third of its kind, took place for the first time in UNRWA's area of operations, thus giving an opportunity for the 70 participants to visit some of the Agency's installations and to have a first-hand look at its operations. Discussions focused on health, education, training and employment, income-generating projects and ways UNRWA and individual non-governmental organizations could expand co-operation to improve services available to refugees.

51. During the informal consultations with donor and other Governments in May 1986 a number of participants urged UNRWA to explore, possibilities for broader co-operation with non-governmental organizations, both those able to contribute funds to support certain programmes and those interested in a more active role in the region. With this in mind, the Agency will be seeking ways to expand its existing relationships with non-governmental organizations.


A. Education

52. Under an agreement between UNRWA, and UNESCO, the latter provides technical and professional guidance to the Commissioner-General on aspects of UNRWA's education programme which includes schooling for some 350,000 Palestine refugee children. Nine grades of elementary and preparatory education are provided in 635 schools. The curriculum in each field follows that of the host country, thus ensuring that refugee children have the same qualifications as other children in their respective host countries.

53. The overall aim of the programme is to provide within the framework of the curricula prescribed by the host countries, general education, teacher and higher education, and vocational and technical education for Palestine refugees in accordance with their educational needs, identity and cultural heritage.

54. Both pre service and in-service teacher training are offered training is given to some 1,000 trainees at three training centres in Jordan and at Ramallah in the West Bank. A variety of in-service training courses is conducted through education development centres located in the five fields of operation. A total of about 350 university scholarships are awarded annually to enable gifted refugee students to continue their education. In addition, UNESCO each year provides fellowships for short training courses for UNRWA's senior education area staff and technical equipment for in-service teacher training.

55. The programme also provides vocational and technical education to some 4,000 young men and women in 8 training centres located throughout UNRWA's areas of operation. The trend has been to increase the number of trainees in this area and to reduce teacher- training to reflect market trends in employment possibilities.

56. In all fields except Lebanon, the UNRWA education programme ran smoothly at all levels. The major structural problems faced during the year were the overcrowding of classrooms and the use of many unsuitable, dilapidated Agency and rented premises. Thanks to an increase in financial contributions from donors directed to the Agency's construction programme, UNRWA has been able to build or renovate several educational facilities.

57. The Arab Gulf programme for United Nations Development organizations (AGFUND) pledged funds for the construction of two new schools in the West Bank to replace very unsuitable rented premises. Biddo Preparatory Girls' School and Beit Jala Preparatory Boys' School will be completed in December 1986. Construction of a new girls' school at Rummaneh, also in the West Bank, will begin in the summer of 1986, if an agreement with AGFUND has been concluded by that time. AGFUND has also announced its intention to help UNRWA finance construction of classrooms and new school sanitary facilities in the Gaza Strip.

58. The Government of Canada financed the construction of two schools in Jordan: the Marka Elementary and Preparatory Girls' Schools were inaugurated on 26 November 1985 and the North Shouneh complex in the Jordan Valley, comprising two boys' and two girls' schools, was completed in January 1986. The latter will be used by over 1,300 students. Also in Jordan, Sheikh Mohammad and Sheikh Ibrahim El Zaben provided UNRWA with funds for the construction of two school buildings in Baqa’a Camp. The first was completed in January 1986 and the second will be finished in July 1986.

59. In the Gaza Strip, the Near East Council of Churches approved funds for school construction enabling the building of seven school toilet blocks, three classrooms to avoid triple-shifting in 1986/87 and the replacement of three unsafe classrooms. Two other unsafe classrooms were replaced using funds donated by the Government of Canada. Construction of three more classrooms is under way with funds provided by UNDP within its programme of assistance to the Palestinian people. Five new school toilet blocks were built to replace very old, dilapidated, unhygienic units, and six old school cesspits were replaced.

60. With some financial participation from the local community, and as part of a multi-year programme, 224 school rooms were roofed with steel sheets to replace broken or cracked, and sometimes dangerous, tiled roofs, while 525 school rooms were fitted with false ceilings under gable roofs, which help to reduce the effects of heat in summer and of cold in winter. In a number of instances the local community provided funds to enable some schools to construct verandas and concrete pavements adjacent to classrooms. Two playgrounds were made, and teachers and pupils of 10 schools painted and whitewashed their own buildings.

61. The difficult financial situation of the Agency has not allowed all the needed construction to proceed. In particular, in the Syrian Arab Republic, UNRWA has been unable to complete construction of a new school in the Rukn al-Din quarter of Damascus and at Muzeireb, near Der’a, to replace unsatisfactory rented school premises. Thanks to the contribution of the Government of Canada, work is progressing on a new school at Qabr-Essit Camp, near Damascus.

62. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Fund contributed an additional $582,000 during the period to enable UNRWA to buy equipment and tools needed for new courses and to re-equip existing courses in the following training centres: the Gaza, Damascus, Wadi Seer and Kalandia Vocational Training Centres, Ramallah Women's Training Centre and Amman Training Centre. The constant adaptation of the vocational training syllabuses to reflect the needs of an ever-changing and shrinking labor market is a major preoccupation of the Agency.

63. The Government of Japan provided scholarships through the Japan International Co-operation Agency in 1985 to allow five UNRWA vocational training instructors to have three months of training in Japan. It is also providing three specialists for the Wadi Seer Training Centre in Jordan for the academic year 1986/87 to assist in the auto-mechanic and diesel courses. Staff from the Centre will receive advanced training in Japan.

64. In 1985 the Government of Italy agreed to meet the recurrent costs of the Gaza Vocational Training Centre for that year, while the Government of Denmark continued to meet the costs of Ramallah Women's Training Centre and Ramallah Men's Teacher Training Centre. The Federal Republic of Germany continued to contribute towards the recurrent costs of Wadi Seer Training Centre and the cash contribution of the European Community for 1985 was earmarked for the UNRWA education programme. During the 1985/86 school year the Arabian American Oil Company (ARAMCO) provided funding for 52 out of 350 university scholarships awarded by UNRWA, as well as assistance to the Agency's vocational training and other programmes.

65. In Lebanon, the level of operation of UNRWA schools fluctuated throughout the year reflecting the varying intensity of fighting. In the period July to November, Agency schools at Beirut were inoperative and seven UNRWA schools in the city were occupied by refugee families who had been displaced by the destruction of their shelters during earlier fighting in Shatila refugee camp. Elsewhere in Lebanon during the second half of 1985 interruptions to school operations were mainly in the context of local strikes. In the first three months of 1986 there were only sporadic interruptions of UNRWA school operations, due either to strikes or to the local security situation. In April and May, however, due to fighting, Agency schools in Sabra, Shatila and Burj el-Barajneh were inoperative for most of the time, while Mar Elias schools were temporarily occupied by displaced refugee families who vacated them by the end of April. Elsewhere in Lebanon, only minor interruptions occurred during April. Although the Siblin Training Centre remained closed, a few training courses continue to be taught at Saida, and a small number of trainees from Lebanon were being taught at UNRWA centres in the Syrian Arab Republic and Jordan.

B. Health services

66. The UNRWA health care programme, which is community health-oriented, provides primary health care for the eligible refugee population, comprising medical care services (both curative and preventive), environmental health services in camps and nutrition and supplementary feeding to vulnerable population groups.

67. A comprehensive review of the UNRWA primary health care programme was carried out from 27 February to 10 April 1986. Upon UNRWA’s request, a World Health Organization (WHO) team carried out a survey in four fields of the UNRWA area of operations, Jordan, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Syrian Arab Republic. It placed special emphasis on maternal and child health, the expanded programme of immunization, the control of diarrhoeal diseases, environmental health and the supplementary feeding programme. The review consisted of thorough assessments at field office and health centre level, as well as of comprehensive household surveys of refugee shelters in camps. The review team concluded that UNRWA was highly efficient in making the best possible use of the limited resources available and that unless more resources were secured, little, progress could be anticipated in improving the health care of the refugees.

1. Curative medical care

68. The demand for UNRWA medical care services continued to increase during the period under review in all fields as reflected in the increased number of medical consultations and reported attendances for referral services and dental treatment. This increase in demand is attributed both to the prevailing economic difficulties and the satisfaction of the recipients with services. The prevailing security situation in Lebanon, however, adversely affected the utilization of health services due, to inaccessibility to refugees of UNRWA facilities in many instances.

69. Owing to its financial difficulties, the Agency could not implement all the planned improvements of premises and planned provision of additional capital equipment. Some projects, however, were completed: a new health centre was established in the Amir Hassan Quarter of Amman with government and community participation, and the polyclinic at Beirut was moved to two more convenient sets of premises. Through a contribution from the Canadian International Development Agency, funds were allocated for construction of a replacement health centre in Baqa’a Camp, Jordan.

70. Additional resources were devoted to extending the UNRWA dental care service to reach more of the refugee population. Two new dental clinics, one stationary and one mobile, were established in the Syrian Arab Republic, and new clinics were opened in the West Bank, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. The programme emphasizes preventive oral health care. Further expansion of dental care service and additional training of support staff, such as dental hygienists, are still needed to reduce the prevalence of dental caries and periodontal diseases.

71. In addition to further continued improvements in the area of communicable disease control, greater emphasis is being placed on the control of non-communicable diseases. Two short-term consultants from WHO were requested to assess the problems of diabetes and respiratory diseases, with special emphasis 'on bronchial asthma in Gaza. Analysis of data collected from a special morbidity study conducted in selected health centres from the five fields during 1983 and 1984 has been completed.

72. Two health centres were equipped with basic radiological units donated by WHO, one in Baqa'a Camp, Jordan and the other in Beach Camp, Gaza. Four additional clinical laboratories were established, one each in West Bank, Jordan, the Gaza Strip and the Syrian Arab Republic. These perform routine clinical and basic biochemical tests.

73. The continuously rising cost of medical care services in the area of operations bad its impact on UNRWA expenditure. The Agency had to increase its subsidies to hospitals and other facilities serving refugee patients in Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic and the West Bank. In Lebanon, new agreements were concluded with several hospitals at increased rates following an increase of social security rates. In the Syrian Arab Republic, the rates for subsidized beds were increased following an increase in bed day fees by the Government. In the West Bank, the agreement with Augusta Victoria Hospital was reviewed with the Lutheran World Federation. The number of beds and subsidy rates at Caritas Hospital for Children, Bethlehem, and UNRWA's financial assistance to St. John Ophthalmic Hospital at Jerusalem were increased. In the Gaza Strip, the Agency operates six maternity centres and runs a tuberculosis hospital at Bureij jointly with the Public Health Department, but no subsidized general or surgical beds were available. Arrangements were being made to provide such facilities from 1 July 1986 at a local hospital as well as at subsidized hospitals in the West Bank. In the mean time, claims for reimbursement of hospital expenses are increasing. The Agency reimburses 60 per cent of such costs for refugees who are not enrolled in the Government's medical insurance scheme. For Special Hardship Cases the reimbursement is 95 per cent. The medical insurance scheme is relatively expensive by comparison with the average level of income in the Gaza Strip, while the cost of hospitalization for those not insured is very high. in Jordan, UNRWA has 38 subsidized medical, pediatric and minor gynecological beds at the Italian and Red Crescent Hospitals. No Agency-subsidized surgical beds are available for the refugees in Jordan. Although refugees are entitled for reimbursement of costs of hospitalization on the basis of need, provision of adequate contractual hospital facilities is needed.

74. UNRWA was able to maintain financial support towards the cost of specialized emergency life-saving treatment through its budget. Funding of the special cardiac surgery programme for refugee children, previously supported by non-governmental organizations, could not be secured for 1986.

2. Preventative medical care

75. The prevention and control of communicable diseases continued to be a major element of the Agency's primary health care programme. Compared with 1984-1985, diseases targeted within the Agency's expanded programme of immunization, including measles, poliomyelitis, pertussis and tuberculosis (respiratory), showed decreases or nil incidence. No cases of cholera were reported during the year. Two major improvements to the Agency's expanded programme of immunization have been introduced and widely implemented: tetanus immunization of pregnant women and rubella immunization of schoolgirls of 11 to 12 years of age.

76. The incidence of communicable diseases, such as diarrhoeal diseases, among children, amoebiasis and enteric group fevers that can mainly be prevented by improving the environmental sanitation, did not show a significant decline. A WHO consultant has been requested to study the problem of enteric diseases.

77. In collaboration with family planning associations of the public health authorities, family planning continued to be provided, on request, in some health centres in the Gaza Strip, Jordan, the West Bank and the Syrian Arab Republic. Training of the required general purpose staff has been completed to expand this service to additional health centre in the Syrian Arab Republic.

78. More teachers in Jordan, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and the Syrian Arab Republic were enrolled in an in-service training, programme on health education and oral health. A UNESCO consultant visited headquarters at Amman on a health education mission when a 10-day workshop was organized. The major objective was to help these teachers become trainers.

79. The growing need for mental health care of refugee children became a matter of particular concern to UNRWA. Reviews and consultations were carried out in co-ordination with other United Nations organizations and non-governmental organizations to assess the psychosocial problems of refugee children. A pilot project was initiated in three camps in Jordan, Baqa’a, Jabal El-Hussein and Marka. The report of the planning mission for a combined UNICEF/WHO/UNRWA research and intervention project at Baqa’a has been prepared, and financial support is being sought for implementation. The Radda Barnen (Sweden) surveillance intervention project in the other two camps is being carried out in collaboration with UNRWA. In addition a research-intervention project will be undertaken jointly by UNRWA and UNICEF to assess the health and psychosocial needs of refugee orphans and to improve their condition.

80. Health education activities, which are an integral part of the regular work of all health staff, were concentrated on promoting healthy life-styles and avoidance, of self-inflicted, health-damaging behavior. Pilot projects to organize community involvement in maintaining a clean and healthy environment were developed at Marka, and similar campaigns were organized in other camps in Jordan. A drive against cigarette smoking has been launched in all fields.

3. Nursing services

81. Nursing personnel, including professionally qualified nurses, nurse midwives and auxiliary personnel, have carried out direct nursing activities, provision of immediate health care and planning of ongoing health services in general clinics, maternal and child health clinics, antenatal clinics, delivery services in maternity wards, post-partum care and in special care clinics. Supporting nursing activities were performed in the area of incidental and planned health education, in identifying environmental health problems, in the school health programme and in the home visiting programme.

82. In some of the Agency's health centres, dayahs (traditional birth attendants) received training and are utilized for natal and post-natal care because of the inadequate number of fully qualified nursing staff. Dayahs in many camps perform home deliveries and are supervised by health centre nursing staff.

4. Environmental health

83. There was some improvement in sanitary conditions in several camps, mainly through community participation and co-operation of local councils, municipalities and host Governments. The Agency lent financial and technical support to self-help programmes such as construction of drains, laying of sewers, installation of family latrines and paving pathways. The programme was particularly important in Lebanon, where because of the fighting most of the previously provided facilities were severely damaged. Eight camps in Lebanon, five in the Syrian Arab Republic, four in Jordan, eight in the Gaza Strip and seven in the West Bank benefited from the programme.

84. In Jordan, the Government has completed water augmentation schemes aimed at the provision of indoor taps to shelters at Baqa’a, Marka, Suf, Jarash and Husn Camps. All shelters at Irbid Camp have already been provided with indoor water taps. Deir Ammar Camp in the West Bank has been connected with a regional water system to facilitate installation of private taps. In Lebanon, with generous support from UNICEF, badly damaged water distribution networks at Shatila, Burj el-Barajneh and Mar Elias Camps were rehabilitated. Burj el-Shemali Camp has been provided with a new electric power back-up system for its water pumping plant. UNICEF-financed schemes, for providing indoor, taps to shelters at Ein el-Hilweh Camp and Beddawi have been completed.

85. With a gradual increase in the consumption of water, existing surface drainage systems in some camps are proving to be inadequate, and a need for greater underground sewerage capacity is apparent. UNRWA, in co-operation with the host Governments, intends to support implementation of sewerage schemes in all camps that can be conveniently linked with regional systems. A UNICEF-assisted sewerage scheme for Mar Elias Camp in the Beirut area has been completed. In south Lebanon, integration of the Bin el-Hilweh sewerage network with the Saida municipal system is nearing completion. The sewerage system at Mieh Mieh Camp, which had been damaged by fighting, has been rehabilitated and connected with the terminal sewer of the municipality. Through an Agency-subsidized self-help programme, underground sewerage systems continued to improve in most of the refugee camps in the Syrian Arab Republic. In Jordan, the Government is executing sewerage schemes in densely populated Baqa’a, Zarka, Irbid and Marka Camps. UNDP projects for Khan Younis and Beach Camps in the Gaza Strip are at an advanced stage of planning.

86. The refuse collection and disposal system has been substantially improved at Zarka Camp in Jordan, where, under a contractual arrangement, the concerned municipality has provided suitable equipment. Subject to the availability of funds, the Agency intends to provide similar upgraded refuse collection and removal facilities to six camps in Gaza and five camps in south Lebanon.

87. To meet manpower requirements for an enhanced environmental health programme, a WHO-assisted training programme is under way. An area sanitation officer has completed a training course in rural health at the University of Bethlehem and a civil engineer from the West Bank is carrying out post-graduate studies in sanitary engineering in the United Kingdom. Another engineer has been selected for a similar training programme to meet programme needs in Lebanon. The Centre for Environmental Health Activities at Amman conducted a short course for mid-level sanitation and health education workers, attended by 10 staff members.

5. Nutrition

88. The data collected in the nutrition survey carried out in April/May 1984 covering about 8,800 persons, were analyzed and a report was published in 1985. The survey found that while acute malnutrition has declined since the previous survey in 1978, some chronic malnutrition still exists, among refugee children in the Gaza Strip. Anemia was found to be highly prevalent among women and children, and dental flourosis was common in the Gaza Strip. Refugee women interviewed during the nutrition survey tended to prolong breast- feeding and confirmed that distribution of milk powder by UNRWA did not adversely affect the age of weaning.

6. Medical and paramedical education and training

89. Within the limits of its financial resources, the Agency continued in 1985/86 to promote and develop its programme of education and training in the various health sectors. To further development of health manpower, a post of Chief Training and Research officer was established at Amman headquarters. Also, a post of Field Health Training and Research Officer has been established in Jordan on a trial basis. In the academic year 1985/86, more refugee students held university scholarships in medicine, dentistry and pharmacy, and additional trainees were enrolled in paramedical, courses in Agency vocational training centres for training as laboratory technicians, assistant pharmacists, public health technicians and dental health hygienists.

90. Scholarships for nursing education were donated by voluntary and non-governmental agencies. In 1985/86, four scholarships were granted, one to a refugee from Lebanon for a 27-month basic midwifery course at the College of Nursing, Jordan, sponsored by Medical Aid for Palestinians; one senior staff nurse from the Gaza Strip to a post-basic training course in public health nursing at Cairo university, sponsored by Save the Children Fund, United Kingdom and two senior staff nurses (one each from Gaza and the Syrian Arab Republic) to a one-year diploma course in community health nursing at Cumberland College, Sydney, Australia, sponsored by the Australian People for Health Education and Development Association (APHEDA), Australia. One other senior staff nurse from Gaza successfully completed a similar course sponsored by APHEDA at the same college in December 1985.

91. The Eastern Mediterranean Regional office of the World Health Organization (WHO/EMRO) awarded five fellowships to Agency medical staff in the academic year 1985/86: two medical officers from Lebanon, for a 12-month post-graduate course in public health administration at the American University of Beirut; two medical officers, one from Gaza and one from the Syrian Arab Republic, for a course in community health at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine; and one senior practical nurse from Lebanon, for a one-year course in public health nursing at Cairo University. Two Agency doctors from Jordan who were granted fellowships last year have successfully completed their studies: one medical officer in public health administration at the High Institute of Public Health, Alexandria, and one Medical officer in clinical tropical medicine at the London School of Hygiene and
Tropical Medicine.

C. Relief services

92. Two programmes constitute the Agency's relief services, the Special Hardship Case (SHC) programme and the general welfare programme (see para. 101 below). The SHC programme provided food (see table 4), blankets, clothing, token cash aid, cash grants for self-support projects, assistance in the repair or reconstruction of shelters and preferential access to vocational and teacher training to 27,912 refugee families as at 30 June 1986 (see table 3)

93. The general distribution of basic rations was suspended in 1982 due to financial constraints and the need to devote a higher percentage of the Agency's resources to its education programme so that demands for admission of refugee children to UNRWA schools could continue to be met. Distribution is now confined to refugee families incapable of supporting themselves. They are termed "Special Hardship Cases", and constitute about 5 per cent of the refugee population.

94. In order to qualify for assistance under the SHC programme a family must be indigent and have no male member between the ages of 18 and 60 years capable of earning a living. Families applying for this assistance are subject to strict verification and, when enrolled in the programme, to annual re-verification.

95. Members of SHC families each receive, in addition to food, one blanket per year and one-set each of winter and summer clothing per child of elementary and preparatory school age and in 1985, received $4.72 as assistance in cash. The Agency also assisted 323 families in repairing or reconstructing their shelters at a cost of $258,822 and provided 31 families with cash grants amounting to $63,565 during 1985 to enable them to become partially or wholly self-supporting.

96. The late delivery of flour in 1985 needed to meet the food requirements of the SHC programme resulted in a temporary reduction in the flour component of the Special Hardship Case ration, lasting for two or three months, in the Syrian Arab Republic, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

97. In all fields, and particularly in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, the relief services staff faced increasing pressure from refugees applying for registration under the SHC programme. This pressure resulted mainly from an increase in unemployment and underemployment, and a rise in the cost of living in the region. UNRWA staff report that there were increasing numbers of refugees in economic distress whom the Agency could not assist because of the criteria based on a family's capacity for employment rather than on whether a person is actually employed. Thus many destitute refugees do not qualify for special hardship assistance even though they are unemployed. As a result, refugee community leaders have been pressing for some time for more flexibility in the criteria. This, of course, would require a substantial increase in resources.

98. With regard to the housing situation in the Gaza Strip, of the 35 families whose shelters on the edge of Beach Camp were demolished, 3/ 7 families have left the site and the remaining 28 families are still living in the temporary shelters that they built for themselves. The Israeli authorities state that these 28 families were offered, but refused, alternative accommodation or compensation. With reference to paragraph 139 of last year's report, 1/ the 19 families who, according, to the authorities, were being re-housed, continue to live in conditions of extreme hardship, as they have done ever since their camp shelters were demolished in the 1971 road widening for security purposes. The Agency has followed up the question of re-housing with the authorities throughout the period of the report. Recently, the Agency was assured that a solution had been developed and is being implemented. Those families who were willing to accept the authorities' plans for them would be assisted, but the assistance would be limited to the original families whose homes were demolished and not for new families since established through marriage.

99. The opportunity to acquire better accommodation in an Israeli housing project helps those refugees who can afford to build a new home. Unfortunately, most cannot afford to do so. Although movement to housing projects is essentially on a voluntary basis, there are some cases where refugees are placed under pressure to persuade them to move. For example, in Jabalia and Rafah Camps bulldozing activities have left shelters isolated and completely surrounded by mounds of sand higher than the shelters themselves, thus making it extremely difficult for the families to remain and live a normal life. A related problem is the authorities' insistence that a refugee moving to a housing project must, as a pre-condition, demolish his old shelter in the camp. The Israel Government's position is that materials from demolished shelters are used by the refugees in new construction, and congestion in the camp is also relieved. Not only does this cause practical complications in cases of extended families sharing the same shelter, where one family wishes to move but another, usually the older, wants to remain, but it also prevents the Agency from using the vacated shelters to help in relieving the situation of other refugee families living in poor, overcrowded conditions.

100. In the Syrian Arab Republic, demolition of shelters in Jaramana Camp to accommodate new road construction began in November 1985. At the end of the reporting period the shelters of 300 families (1,732 persons) had been destroyed. The Agency has received assurances that the refugee families affected are receiving adequate alternative housing and has requested detailed information so that plans may be made to adjust the provision of services to these refugees.

101. The general welfare programme comprises welfare case-work, women's activities, adult training courses, the education and training of the disabled, the promotion of income-generating projects, assistance to refugees in emergency situations and pre-school activities. The Agency also encourages but does not organize or administer youth activities. All eligible refugees may benefit from the welfare programme.

102. Some 15,885 young men and 615 women benefit from sporting, cultural and educational activities provided for them in 56 centres. The youth activities centres are organized and supervised by the members with assistance and support from the Agency and the World Alliance of Young Men's Christian Associations. The women's activities centres are organized and supervised by the Agency. Four youth activities centres in the West Bank (Kalandia, Dheisheh, Aida, Balata) and one in the Gaza Strip (Rafah) have been closed from three to five years by the Israeli occupation authorities for activities that they regard as hostile. These remained closed, thus depriving the local youths of much needed and appreciated facilities. The Agency has repeatedly asked the authorities to allow these centres to reopen, at least on a trial basis, but this has not been done. The extension of the Khan Younis (Gaza) Youth Activities Centre is still stopped by the authorities.

103. One-year training course in carpentry and in sewing and embroidery are run by the Agency for refugees, mostly young people who would otherwise not receive further education and training. Forty-four young men and 927 women attended these courses during the past year.

104. Education and training was provided for 213 disabled children in specialized institutions in the area. Eighty of these attended the Training Centre for the Blind in Gaza, which is operated by the Agency and financed by the Pontifical Mission for Palestine. The Centre continues to play an important role in the Gaza Strip in the provision of education and training for the blind. Contributions were received from various persons and organizations, including the Christophel Blinden Mission, the Canadian Embassy and American Middle East Educational Training Services (AMIDEAST), thus enabling a range of improvements. Training courses to develop the skills of the staff have also been held with assistance of organizations such as the Helen Keller Institute and ILO.

105. In Jordan, two community projects to assist the mentally retarded and physically disabled children of Suf and Jarash Camps have proved so successful that a third centre at the Husn Camp is planned to open early in 1987. The projects are organized jointly by UNRWA and OXFAM (UK). Recurrent costs are met by OXFAM at Suf and Jarash and will be met by the Mennonite Central Committee at Husn. Non-recurrent costs come entirely from donations, and major contributors have included the British community of Amman, the Norwegian Refugee Council and the Jordan field office's Sponsored Run Fund.

106. Artificial limbs and other prosthetic devices were given to 465 disabled refugees; 19 destitute persons, 68 aged people and 15 orphans were cared for in institutions run by voluntary agencies mainly at no cost to the Agency; 179 tons of used clothing contributed by voluntary agencies were distributed to SHC and welfare cases.

107. As at 1 August 1986, the pre-school activities centres in the Gaza Strip will be run under the sole responsibility of the American Friends service Committee and of the Save the Children Fund (United Kingdom).

D. Legal matters

1. Agency staff

108. There has been a marked increase in the number of staff arrested and detained without charge or trial (see table 10, annex 1). The Agency remains unable to obtain adequate and timely information on the reasons for these arrests and detentions of its staff. In the absence of such information the Agency is unable to ascertain whether the staff members' official functions have been involved or to ensure that their rights and duties flowing from the Charter of the United Nations, the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations of 1946 and UNRWA's pertinent Staff Regulations and Rules are duly observed. The staff members detained in Lebanon were kidnapped by various militia groups, except for three understood to be under detention by the Syrian forces in Lebanon.

109. A positive element is that in recent months, in the West Bank, the Agency has had access to detained staff, a practice that had been discontinued there for a number of years. The Agency regrets that no such access has been accorded in any other part of its area of operation.

110. The Israeli authorities have lifted their restrictions on the travel on duty to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip of an international staff member. However, five area staff members - five of whom were referred to in last year's report - have been refused facilities to travel on duty to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In all of these cases the authorities have invoked security considerations. An area staff member has been refused permission to leave the West Bank on duty, with no adequate reasons being provided to the Agency. Another area staff member has been prevented from leaving the Gaza Strip on duty as a result of a ban on the travel of all residents of Bureij Camp. The Agency was unable to secure an exception for him. One area staff member has been deported from Jordan without the Agency being given the reasons for this action.

111. In the West Bank and the Gaza Strip the Israeli authorities have continued to summon Agency staff for interrogation during office hours without adequate notice. The Agency has reiterated its concern over this disruption of programmes, especially as regards teacher's who are also responsible for supervising the conduct of pupils in UNRWA schools.

2. Agency services and premises

112. The Israeli authorities in the West Bank have now removed most of the barricades erected at main entrances of camps in earlier years.

113. There have been incursions by the Israeli authorities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip into Agency premises, but on the whole more restraint has been shown. This has served to reduce the number of security incidents affecting the smooth operation of the training centres and schools.

114. The number of refugee shelters sealed or demolished for punitive reasons during the period has increased sharply in the West Bank. Whilst last year one room each in the shelters of two families had been sealed, in the reporting period 20 shelters were sealed by the authorities, of which 12 were totally sealed and 8 partially. These actions involved 10 Agency rooms and 43 privately built rooms, and affected 24 families and 171 persons. During the same period 3 refugee shelters belonging to 3 families were also demolished, affecting 25 persons. In the Gaza Strip, the shelter rooms of two refugee youths at Rafah and the room of one refugee family in Gaza town were demolished on punitive grounds.

115. In each of the above-mentioned cases, the Israeli authorities have claimed that the action was taken on the grounds that one or more members of the families living in these shelters were suspected of committing an offence. The Agency, whilst not condoning the actions of any person who may commit such offences, has protested to the authorities that punitive action taken is contrary to articles 33 and 53 of the Geneva Convention of 1949 Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, 4/ and, furthermore, that such action is incompatible with the legal and human rights of the refugees.

116. The Ariha School in Shatila Camp, Lebanon, was frequently occupied by various militias, especially during clashes in the camp.

3. Claims against Governments

117. Despite a reminder, the Agency has had no response to its claims against the Government of Israel to compensate the Agency for the damage suffered during the invasion of Lebanon in June 1982 and other damage caused by Israeli military activities before that date, as well as its claim lodged in 1969 for the damage arising out of the 1967 hostilities.

118. There is also no progress to report on claims against the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic, relating mainly to the levy of certain taxes from which the Agency believes it is exempt under existing agreements. Likewise, there has been no progress with regard to the establishment of a joint committee of representatives of the Jordanian Government and the Agency to discuss the Agency's claims against the Government of Jordan. 5/


1/ Official Records of the General Assembly, Fortieth Session, Supplement No. 13 (A/40/13 and Add.1, Add.1/Corr.1 and Corr.1

2/ Ibid., para. 57.

3/ Ibid., para. 138.

4/ United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 75, No. 973, p. 287.

5/ Official Records of the General Assembly, Fortieth Session, Supplement No. 13 (A/40/13 and Corr.1 and Add.1 and Add.1/Corr.1) para. 173.

Statistical information*


1. UNRWA activities as percentage of 1986 annual budget

2. Distribution of UNRWA registered refugees by field, October 1985

3. Distribution of UNRWA registered refugees living in camps, by field

4. Distribution of children in UNRWA schools, by field, 1985/86 school year

5. Distribution of UNRWA staff by field


1. Number of registered persons

2. Distribution of registered population

3. Number and distribution of Special Hardship Cases

4. Food commodities distributed to each Special Hardship Case person receiving rations in 1985

5. Distribution of refugee pupils receiving education in UNRWA schools


6. Growth of UNRWA school population: elementary and preparatory cycles 1950/86


6. Training places in UNRWA training centres

7. University scholarship holders, by faculty and country of study

8. Number of beneficiaries of the UNRWA supplementary feeding programmes

9. Medical care services

10. Staff members arrested and detained (1 July 1985-30 June 1986)


7. Incidence trends of selected communicable diseases



Table 1

Number of registered persons a/

(As at 30 June each year)
Field 1950 1955 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980

Syrian Arab


West Bank

Gaza Strip
    127 600

82 194

506 200


198 227
100 820

88 330

502 135


214 701
136 561

115 043

613 743


255 542
159 810

135 971

688 089


296 953
175 958

158 717

506 038

272 692

311 814
196 855

184 042

625 857

292 922

333 031
226 554

209 362

716 372

324 035

367 995
263 599

244 626

799 724

357 704

427 892
271 424

250 953

822 624

365 315

435 478
Total914 221 b/905 9861 120 8891 280 8231 425 2191 623 7071 844 3182 093 5452 145 794

a/ These statistics are based on UNRWA's registration records, which are updated continually. The number of registered refugees present in the Agency's area of operations, however, is almost certainly less than the population recorded. The Agency's budgeted expenditure is based not on the registration records but on the projected numbers of beneficiaries of its services. In 1985/86, 354,500 refugees enrolled in education or training programmes, 1.8 million were eligible for health care and 108,726 destitute persons received special hardship assistance. Additionally, temporary emergency programmes were mounted for 4,350 persons stranded in the Egyptian sector of Rafah following the re-establishment of the border between the Sinai and the Gaza Strip.

b/ This total excludes 45,800 persons receiving relief in Israel, who were the responsibility of UNRWA until June 1952.

Table 2

Distribution of registered population

(As at 30 June 1986)
Number of
Total camp
population a/
Registered persons not in camps
Percentage of
not in camps

Syrian Arab


West Bank

Gaza Strip
271 424

250 953

822 624

365 315

435 478




140 037

72 486

204 221

92 445

240 046
131 387

178 467

618 403

272 870

195 432




2 145 794
749 235
1 396 559

a/ It is estimated that a further 52,000 persons, who are not registered refugees, live in camps. About 37,000 of these are persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 hostilities.

Table 3

Number and distribution of Special Hardship Cases

(As at 30 June 1986)
Number of persons
Number of families
Receiving rations
rations a/
Percentage of refugee population

Syrian Arab


West Bank

Gaza Strip
6 903

4 575

4 515

4 875

7 044
25 058

12 104

19 710

17 863

27 583

1 028

1 612

1 958

1 537
25 331

13 132

21 322

19 821

29 120




27 912
102 318
6 408
108 726

a/ Includes children under one year, men serving compulsory military service or imprisoned, students studying away from home, etc.

Table 4

Food commodities distributed to each Special Hardship Case person
receiving rations in 1985

(In kilograms)

Corned beef or sardines
Tomato paste
milk powder

Syrian Arab


West Bank

Gaza Strip





























Table 5

Distribution of refugee pupils receiving education in UNRWA schools a/

(As at October 1985)
Number of UNRWA schools
Number of teachers
Number of
pupils in elementary classes b/
Number of
pupils in preparatory classes b/
Total number
of refugee

Syrian Arab


West Bank

Gaza Strip




1 199

1 539

3 696

1 290

2 360
11 980

17 853

46 450

13 243

32 979
11 522

16 882

44 912

15 354

29 870
23 502

34 735

91 362

28 597

62 849
5 397

9 053

23 290

5 532

12 728
5 060

8 126

21 550

6 092

11 351
10 457

17 179

44 840

11 624

24 079
33 959

51 914

136 202

40 221

86 928
Total63510 084122 505118 540241 04556 00052 179108 179349 224

a/ Excluding 97,636 refugee pupils attending elementary, preparatory and secondary government and private schools.

b/ Including non-eligible children attending UNRWA schools, who now number 50,987. Of these, 15,707 are in the Gaza Strip, where all refugee children have always been regarded in practice as eligible for education services.


1950 - 1986

Table 6

Training places in UNRWA training centres

(Academic year 1985/86)
West Bank
Centre a/
Damascus Vocational Training
Training Centre
Wadi Seer Training Centre
Kalandia Vocational Training Centre
Ramallah Women's Training Centre
Ramallah Men's
Teacher Training Centre
Gaza Voca- tional Training Centre
A.Vocational and technical education

1. Post-
level b/
2. Post-
level c/
















2 339


2 500

1 308
Total 560 - 664 80 124 204 732 24 528 - - 288 - -604 -3 212 596 3 808
B.Pre-service teacher training - - - - 130 195 - - - - - 350 325 - - - 455 545 1 000
560 - 664 80 254

732 24 528

- 638 325 -604 -3 6671 141 4 808

a/ Centre was inoperative throughout the year.

b/ Courses are offered in metal, electrical and building trades.

c/ Courses are offered in technical, commercial and paramedical fields.

Table 7

University scholarship holders by faculty and country of study

(Academic year 1985/86)
Syrian Arab
Others a/

Medical and

Arts and































a/ In addition, during 1985/86, 19 university scholarships valid for one year were awarded to Palestine refugee students by the European Community for study at Arab universities.

b/ Other countries were: Algeria (one male student), Democratic Yemen (one male student) Iraq (three male and two female students) and Turkey (two male students).

Table 8

Number of beneficiaries of the UNRWA supplementary
feeding programmes a/
(1 July 1985-30 June 1986)
Syrian Arab Republic
Jordan b/


Mid-day meal for
beneficiaries below 15 years

Milk programme for
beneficiaries below 3 years

Extra dry rations
6 624

7 005
4 232

13 077
6 994

25 495
7 615

10 515
7 191

24 426
32 656

80 518
Pregnant and
nursing women

TB out-patients

1 922

4 559

8 069

6 239

11 656

32 445


a/ The figures in this table are average monthly numbers, except for the midday meal programme, which is an average daily number.

b/ Includes 1,772 displaced persons who were given hot meals and 1,868 who were given milk on behalf of the Government of Jordan.

Table 9

Medical care services

(As at 30 June 1986)
Type of service
A.Curative Services
1.Out-patient care
Number of patients
Number of attendances
Medical treatments a/
Dental treatment

In-patient care

Hospital beds available b/
Number of patients admitted
Annual patient/days per
1,000 population ratio
322 c/177 596

603 755
27 959

3 838

268 447

1 200 723
86 249


124 535

809 453
40 360

12 359

141 893

1 343 576
31 576

4 943

B.Preventive services

1. Maternal and child health care
Pregnant women
(Average monthly attendance)
Children below 3 years
(average attendance) d/

8 590
1 275

13 840
3 250

31 546
1 872

16 168
4 741

31 241
11 985

101 835
2. Expanded programme of immunization
(number of full primary series)
Triple (DPT) vaccine
Polio vaccine
BCG vaccine
Measles vaccine
4 676
4 914
5 013
4 857
5 593
5 794
5 609
5 603
13 130
13 198
10 012
13 672
5 489
3 936
6 082
5 833
14 672
14 789
14 825
13 931
43 560
42 631
41 541
43 896
3.School health
Number of school entrants
Number of booster vaccinations
4 191
9 212
7 121
15 587
11 663
42 343
9 115
13 109
8 349
34 218
40 439
114 469

a/ Includes attendances for medical consultations, injections, dressings and eye treatment.

b/ Information restricted to statistics from UNRWA hospitals/maternity centres and beds utilized by UNRWA against contractual agreements.

c/ Revised agreements were concluded to fit prevailing circumstances in Lebanon. The number of beds was not stable over the review period.

d/ Health monitoring is monthly for age group 0-1 year, bimonthly for age group 1-2 years and trimonthly for age group 2-3 years.

Table 10
Staff members arrested and detained

(1 July 1985-30 June 1986)
Syrian Arab
Arrested or detained and
released without charge
or trial

Charged, tried and

Still detained








18 a/


4 b/

a/ Fourteen kidnapped by militias and unknown elements and four detained and released by Syrian forces in Lebanon.

b/ One kidnapped by unknown elements and three understood to be detained by Syrian forces in Lebanon.




Pertinent records of the General Assembly and other
United Nations bodies a/

1. General Assembly resolutions

Resolution No.

194 (III)
212 (III)
302 (IV)
393 (V)
513 (VI)
614 (VIII)
720 (VIII)
818 (IX)
916 (X)
1018 (XI)
1191 (XII)
1315 (XIII)
1456 (XIV)
1604 (XV)
1725 (XVI)
1856 (XVII)
1912 (XVIII)
2002 (XIX)
2052 (XX)
2154 (XXI)
2252 (ES-V)
2341 (XXII)
2452 (XXIII)
Date of adoption

11 December 1948
19 November 1948
8 December 1949
2 December 1950
26 January 1952
6 November 1952
27 November 1953
4 December 1954
3 December 1955
28 February 1957
12 December 1957
12 December 1958
9 December 1959
21 April 1961
20 December 1961
20 December 1962
3 December 1963
10 February 1965
15 December 1965
17 November 1966
4 July 1967
19 December 1967
19 December 1968
Resolution No.

2535 (XXIV)
2656 (XXV)
2672 (XXV)
2728 (XXV)
2791 (XXVI)
2792 A to E (XXVI)
2963 A to F (XXVII)
2964 (XXVII)
3089 A to E (XXVIII)
3090 (XXVIII)
3330 (XXIX)
3331 (XXIX)
3410 (XXX)
31/15 A to E
32/90 A to F
33/112 A to F
34/52 A to F
35/13 A to F
36/146 A to H
37/120 A to K
38/83 A to K
39/99 A to K
40/165 A to K
Date of adoption

10 December 1969
7 December 1970
8 December 1970
15 December 1970
6 December 1971
6 December 1971
13 December 1972
13 December 1972
7 December 1973
7 December 1973
17 December 1974
17 December 1974
8 December 1975
24 November l976
13 December 1977
18 December 1978
23 November 1979
3 November 1980
16 December 1981
16 December 1982
15 December 1983
14 December 1984
16 December 1985

2. General Assembly decision

Decision number Date of adoption

36/462 16 March 1982

3. Reports of the Commissioner-General of UNRWA

4. Audited financial statements

1985: Ibid., Fortieth Session, Supplement No. 5C (A/40/5/Add.3)

5. Reports of the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine
6. Reports of the Working Group on the Financing of UNRWA

7. Reports of the Secretary-General


a/ A list of pertinent reports and other documents of the General Assembly and other United Nations bodies concerning UNRWA (notably those prior to 1984) may be found in the publication UNRWA at the United Nations 1948-1984, available from the UNRWA Public Information Division.


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