Question of Palestine home
30 June 1953
ANNUAL REPORT OF THE DIRECTOR
OF THE UNITED NATIONS RELIEF AND
WORKS AGENCY FOR PALESTINE REFUGEES
IN THE NEAR EAST
Covering the period 1 July 1952 to 30 June 1953
OFFICIAL RECORDS : EIGHTH SESSION
SUPPLEMENT No. 12 (A/2470)
New York, 1953
TABLE OF CONTENTS
OPERATIONAL REPORTS 6
I. Financial operations 6
II. Rehabilitation. 8
III. Health 12
IV. Education 18
V. Welfare.. 21
VI. Co-operation with other United Nations
VII. Legal aspects of the work of the Agency. 25
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.
1. In accordance with the provisions of paragraph 21 of resolution
of 8 December 1949, the following report on the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East is submitted to the General Assembly. This report, the third of the series, covers the period from 1 July 1952 to 30 June 1953.
2. On 7 March 1953, the Director of the Agency, Mr. John B. Blandford, Jr., resigned; his successor has not yet been appointed.
3. For details of the origin of the Agency and of the measures taken from time to time by the United Nations to deal with the problem of the Arab refugees from Palestine, the reader is referred to the annual report of the Director to the seventh session of the General Assembly, which contains a list of references, and to the special report of the Director and Advisory Commission to the same session.
4. The present report consists of an introductory section which reviews the activities of the Agency during the past year and makes an attempt to look forward into the immediate future. There follows a series of operational reports dealing in more detail with the different functional activities.
5. The record of the year that has just been completed is a mixed one. Although a number of comparatively minor projects are under way and although preliminary surveys of the Yarmuk-Jordan Valley project have been initiated, progress with the execution of major schemes has not been sufficient to effect a reduction in the number of refugees receiving rations. Today, over five years after the outbreak of hostilities in Palestine, there are still about 872,000 refugees depending upon the relief provided by the international community.2 This is almost exactly the same number as that of the refugees registered on the Agency's lists at the end of 1951. Had it not been for the assumption by the Israel Government of responsibility for some 19,000 Arab refugees in Israel at the end of the previous year, the number would have been still greater. With each year that passes, the natural increase in the refugee population adds an estimated 22,000 to 25,000 to the lists. The need for measures to settle the problem is urgent, and the urgency increases every day.
6. On the positive side, the year has been marked by the conclusion of four programme agreements with three of the host countries, envisaging the expenditure of $111 million. In two cases the agreements relate to major projects which, when completed, will offer opportunities for becoming self-supporting to between 150,000 and 200,000 refugees. These projects are the Yarmuk-Jordan Valley irrigation scheme, and a scheme for irrigating with Nile water an area in Sinai to the east of the northern part of the Suez Canal.
7. It must also be recorded, on the credit side, that, in spite of the failure to reduce the number of refugees receiving relief, expenditure on that account did not seriously exceed $23 million, the figure established by the General Assembly at its seventh session. In fact, were it not for the decision in October 1952 to increase the education budget by some $377,000, the cost of relief would have been a little less than $23 million. For this, a slight reduction in the level of prices of basic commodities and certain administrative measures are largely responsible.
8. Another event of great importance, the effects of which have not yet been fully felt but which may be far-reaching, was the enlargement of the Advisory Commission by the inclusion of representatives of three of the four host countries--Syria, Jordan and Egypt. Their familiarity with the points of view of those Governments and with the refugee problem has already assisted in overcoming administrative difficulties, and there is reason to hope that this assistance will increase as time goes on.
9. It should not, however, be imagined that the official attitude of the refugees towards resettlement has been appreciably modified. The fact that three governments were prepared to negotiate agreements with the Agency is an indication that they appreciate that the facilities offered to the refugees are no more than temporary, and that the acceptance by a refugee of a house and an opportunity to resume a normal life does not in any way effect or reduce his right to repatriation or compensation when the time comes. But to judge by the tone of frequent manifestos submitted on behalf of the refugees rejecting the Agency's rehabilitation schemes, and of the majority of articles on the subject in the local Press, this fundamental principle is either not widely understood or deliberately ignored. The opposition of the refugees, with which the indigenous population of the host countries tends to sympathize, constitutes a formidable obstacle which must be overcome if tangible progress is to be achieved in implementing the provisions of the three-year plan. The Agency alone cannot do much to change the attitude of the refugees, still less that of the citizens of the host countries; it will require the combined efforts of the governments, identifying themselves with UNRWA and its programme, to make any tangible headway.
10. The outlook is not, however, entirely dark. There are signs that individual refugees, when offered opportunities to take advantage of the minor projects initiated by the Agency with government co-operation, are ready and willing to abandon the enervating life of the camps, and there are refugees who have approached the Agency and asked for a chance to become self supporting. This spirit will receive the encouragement it deserves only when there is tangible evidence of work proceeding, and when employment is available for those who seek it.
11. Signs of progress on major schemes are unfortunately lacking. The time taken to negotiate programme agreements with governments has been far longer than was expected when the three-year plan was originally conceived. It took seven, nine, fourteen and seventeen months respectively to conclude the four now in existence. The subsequent determination of specific projects also takes time; even when land has been oflered for development, surveys have to be made to establish the availability of water in sufficient quantities and the suitability of the soil for cultivation. The time required for the preliminary engineering work involved in the preparation of specifications, plans and designs for a major project must be measured in months, and the construction of a large dam or hydro-electric plant and of the main and subsidiary irrigation canals, in years. A preliminary estimate of the various stages of the Yarmuk-Jordan Valley scheme is that the initial surveys will take a year and the construction two years, while a further two years will be required for filling the reservoir. Much of the preparatory work can proceed simultaneously once the results of the surveys have proved that the scheme is practicable, but it will be several years before the full benefits of the projects can be achieved. And this is the only major scheme that has
reached the survey stage.
12. It cannot be denied that the timing of the three-year plan has gone awry. Other premises upon which the plan was based have not been fulfilled. It was, for example, never expected that $200 million would be sufficient to render all the refugees self-supporting, and it was assumed that the Agency's programme would be supplemented by parallel large-scale measures under-taken by the governments to improve the economies of their countries for the benefit of their own citizens. These measures were to be financed with the assistance of foreign loans and grants, for (apart from Iraq and Saudi Arabia) the capital resources of the Near Eastern States are inadequate for the purpose. Economic development on the scale and at the rate envisaged has not taken place.
13. Meanwhile, the problem of the refugees remains, and their numbers continue to increase. Signs are not lacking that contributions for relief will not continue indefinitely, or at least not on the same scale. The contributors insist that expenditure on relief shall be reduced. The rehabilitation fund remains largely untouched, and a considerable part of it uncommitted, while the whole of the relief fund, originally intended to last three years, has been consumed in two and even more will have to be spent this year on relief than during 1952-1953.
14. In the circumstances, it is as well to review the situation now and to determine what is to happen after 30 June 1954, when the Agency's mandate will come to an end. It is almost certain that the number of refugees registered on the Agency's lists will not have decreased by more than a comparatively insignificant number and that relief will still have to be provided. Not one of the host countries can afford, without serious economic dislocation, to bear unaided the burden created by the presence of the refugees. On the other hand, the growing reluctance of the contributors to continue to supply funds for relief is a factor to be reckoned with and one to which any survey of the future must pay heed.
15. Before decisions are taken on this issue, it would be as well to consider what the Agency and its predecessors have achieved during the past five years. The total amount of money spent on relief is in the neighbourhood of $121 million; for this, nearly a million refugees have been fed and about a third of that number sheltered; there have been no major epidemics; and a considerable proportion of the children have been educated. This is not to say that the standard of relief resembles the life that these unfortunate people led before 1948. Tents are no substitute for houses, nor camp life for the normal existence of a settled community. But the consequences of a disaster cannot be wiped out overnight. It takes time to repair the damage caused by an earthquake or a flood, even when the whole resources of a wealthy State are brought to bear upon the problem. In the case of the Palestine refugees, disaster drove them from their homes and forced them upon the generosity of neighbouring States whose ability to help was limited, in at least one case strictly so.
16. It is doubtful whether, given the full co-operation of the host countries, it would have been possible wholly to absorb the refugees in those countries in the five years that have elapsed since their flight. The absorption, even temporarily, of one million persons into a community of five and a half millions (excluding Egypt) requires a digestive capacity far beyond the economic possibilities of the area as they exist today. It took the Greek Government, assisted by international loans, ten years to resettle a million and a quarter Greeks in the 1920's, in conditions which were appreciably better than those in the Near East. Although the time required to achieve the objectives of the three-year plan may have been under-estimated, the principles of the plan have not been invalidated; namely, that relief will be required until new opportunities for self-support have been created.
17. It was however--and still is--an essential prerequisite for the implementation of the plan that the Near Eastern governments should bear a large responsibility for putting it into effect. The Arab governments insist that they are moving as fast as public opinion and other factors will allow.
18. If relief is to continue, the question arises whether an agency designed to solve the refugee problem within a specified number of years is the appropriate organ to administer a programme which is beginning to assume a semi-permanent character. There is something incongruous in the presence of an alien organization, however well-intentioned, furnishing the basic necessities for a large proportion of the population of a country, particularly when--as in the commendable case of Jordan--the refugees have been made full citizens of the State. The period of acute emergency is past, when the efforts of the international community were gladly accepted, and the Agency is becoming something of an embarrassment to the host governments. It is true that UNRWA is a useful whipping-boy when complaints arise, but the Agency, enjoying as it does the privileges and immunities appropriate to the United Nations, is in danger at times of becoming a political liability. It is not always convenient to defend the Agency in the face of criticism from the public and the Press, but the alternative may be less satisfactory. For instance, where the requirements of the Agency do not coincide with government policy (as sometimes happens), there is a grave risk that UNRWA, under compulsion, will be unable to carry on and will have to withdraw from the field. There has, for example, been strong pressure from commercial interests to compel the Agency to buy its requirements locally. Where there are surpluses of indigenous products of the right kind and quality, the Agency does its best to introduce them into its procurement programme, provided that this does not cost more than importing similar goods. On occasions, however, this pressure has been translated into official embargoes against the introduction of supplies purchased abroad; these have enormously complicated the Agency's task and have once or twice imposed expensive emergency solutions in order to maintain the flow of supplies to the refugees. Any unnecessary expenditure of contributions cannot be tolerated. Similarly, criticism and suggestions of an objective kind
are helpful, but when they are followed by pressure amounting to interference in UNRWA's domestic affairs (e.g., in personnel matters) there is a danger that the Agency may be forced to suspend operations.
19. As time passes, it is probable that the feeling against the independence of the Agency will grow rather than otherwise. It would, therefore, be more appropriate for the governments to relieve themselves of the complications inherent in the presence of UNRWA and to assume the responsibility for the administration of the relief programme. The suggestion is not a new one: the three-year plan itself anticipated the withdrawal of the Agency from an active role into one of financial and technical assistance to governments.
20. The timing of such a transfer demands careful consideration. Some of the activities of the Agency could be handed over at once and with little difficulty, provided that the funds required were guaranteed. The education and health programmes, for example, have been closely coordinated with the services provided by the host governments; the curricula taught in UNRWA and government schools are similar, and the salaries of the teachers equated with those of government employees. Sanitation and the maintenance of camps is largely effected by Palestinian staff under the general direction of an international official at Agency headquarters, and the transfer of allegiance would present no difficulty. There is as yet no special governmental organization in any of the host countries for the procurement of supplies for the refugees, and it will take time to create one and more time for it to obtain experience of buying on the scale required.
21. Before inviting the host governments to accept administrative responsibility for the relief programme, the probable duration of the programme, and its cost, should be examined. If it is accepted that reductions in the relief bill can only be achieved as and when progress is made on the self-support programme, a forecast of the latter will provide indications of the time during which a relief programme will still be required.
22. The Agency has not so far had any direct experience of the construction of a major engineering project. Paragraph 11 above contains an estimate of the time likely to be consumed in completing one such project, that of the Yarmuk-Jordan Valley scheme. It is reasonable to assume that other major projects, such as the one in north-west Sinai, will take approximately as long. Less ambitious schemes--particularly if water is readily available--will take less, but for the purposes of the following table an average (perhaps optimistic) of five years has been adopted as the time required to complete a major project from the date on which the undertaking to reserve the funds is officially concluded.
23. The table is based upon a number of other assumptions, some of which are less likely to be fulfilled than others, but none of which are incapable of fulfilment, given the co-operation of the host governments. It is assumed:
) That the number of refugees, starting at a round figure of 900,000
on 1 July 1953, will automatically increase by 25,000 per year (natural increase of population);
) That each person employed on projects financed by the Agency, and his family, will be eliminated from the ration rolls;
) That the family of each person employed will number an average of five persons receiving rations;
) That rehabilitation proper will occur only when the project has been completed;
) That major projects will be designated in Syria, and work upon them started, during 1953-1954, and that the refugees already in Syria will have been rendered self-supporting by the end of 1954-1955;
) That new projects will be found to absorb the uncommitted balance of the $200 million fund during 1953-1954, so that work can be started on them in 1954-1955;
) That the cost of relief can be maintained at not more than $30 per refugee per year.
1953/ 1954/ 1955/ 1956/ 1957/ 1958/ 54 55 56 57 58 59
Number of refugees
900 925 950 975 1,000 1,025
Yarmuk ........... 5 15 15 15 - -
Syria ............ 3 12 - - - -
Sinai ............ 3 12 12 12 - -
Jordan ($11 mil-
lion)........... 1 1 2 - - -
New works ...
65 54 52 25 -
.. 60 325 270 260 125 -
Yarmuk .......... - - - - 150 150
Syria ............ - - 85 85 85 85
Sinai ............ - - - - 75 75
million).......... - - - 10 10 10
New works ...... - - - - - 250
(3 and 4) ....... 60 325 355 355 445 570
Removing on relief
(1 less 5) ...... 840 600 595 620 555 455
Cost of relief
(in millions) .... $25.5 $18 $18 $18.5 $16.5 $13.5
24. The table shows that, even if projects are initiated and work on them started, it will be six years before an appreciable reduction in the relief programme can take place, and that unless other measures are taken a large number of refugees will still be without means of self support at the end of that period. If further evidence were required, the table points to the imperative need for parallel programmes of economic development to supplement the plan.
25. The Agency does not expect the host governments to reserve all the most promising development areas for the refugees and thus to deprive their own citizens of their best potential economic assets, towards the development of which such parallel activities should be directed. Jordan, in fact, has already offered the refugees--in the Jordan Valley--the only land capable of being irrigated perenially, although there is probably room for industrial development in which refugees will be able to participate only on a small scale. Lebanon is already overcrowded, and the resources of the Gaza strip are negligible. The only one of the four host countries in which development on the scale required is possible is Syria, where there are fortunately possibilities more than adequate for the indigenous population and for a large influx of imported manpower. Capital only is lacking at present. The employment in Syria of the balance of the $200 million fund would help to strengthen the economy of that country and, in turn, to attract the additional capital which its over-all development will demand.
26. The effect on the economies of the host countries of investment on the scale envisaged is not confined to the projects themselves. Secondary employment is created even during the initial stages of construction, and the repercussions of expenditure tend to spread over a wide area. To that extent the figures and the time-table in paragraph 23 may prove to be too pessimistic. The full benefits of the spread of this large capital investment will be felt only if restrictions on the movement of refugees are withdrawn. This is a measure which was proposed in the original three-year plan, but little has been done so far to give effect to it. Such freedom of movement would enable refugees to take full advantage of opportunities for work arising in countries such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf sheikhdoms, where economic development is already taking place.
27. The table also shows why it is essential to retain intact for its original purpose the remainder of the rehabilitation fund and to provide additional funds for the relief programme. If the cost of relief were to be met from the rehabilitation fund, the size of the latter would be so quickly reduced that its value as a means of making refugees self-supporting would disappear, and the powers of the Agency to negotiate new projects would be nil.
28. The over-all cost of relief is high; in particular, the cost in 1953-1954 will be higher than the cost in 1952, in spite of the transfer of education to the rehabilitation programme. The reason is not far to seek. The application of ceilings to the ration lists has concealed the fact that the families of genuine refugees have been growing without an increase in the amount of food issued, so that each refugee in a larger family obtains slightly less to eat. This has led to a number of anomalies which on humanitarian grounds it is essential to eliminate. The cost of doing this, and of providing shelter for a large number of refugees whose means of finding their own accommodation is now exhausted, will amount to some $2.7 million over the year.
29. If financial assistance can be guaranteed by the international community, the host governments would have no grounds for objecting to the transfer to them of administrative responsibility for relief. Responsibility for the various relief functions (health, camps and welfare) and for education should be transferred before the close of the current fiscal year (30 June 1954). Responsibility for procurement and the distribution of supplies will have to remain with the Agency for a time and until the host governments have built up their own organizations to undertake the work, but they should be in a position to do so at the latest by 30 June 1955.
30. To underwrite a commitment involving so great an outlay of funds and extending over a number of years would represent an act of faith on the part of the contributors, in return for which they may justifiably require a corresponding gesture on the part of the Arab States. It would not be unfair to invite those governments wholeheartedly to assist the Agency, not only over the free movement of personnel and supplies, but also in the selection of areas which can be developed easily and at less cost than some of those which have been offered so far, and over the elimination from the ration rolls of duplicate card-holders and of persons not genuinely in need of relief.
31. If the various suggestions contained in this report are accepted, the role of the Agency in the immediate future begins to take shape. In the relief field, it is one of gradually transferring the administrative responsibility for health, camps, welfare and supply (and also for education), retaining only the functions of technical assistance and financial audit. In the rehabilitation field, once the balance of the $200 million fund is committed, UNRWA's functions (in addition to those of technical assistance and financial audit) will probably include the co-ordination of projects financed by the Agency with the over-all development plans of the host governments. In this way, both the Agency and the funds contributed by the international community will be enabled to play their parts in helping to resolve the refugee problem on the lines laid down for them by the General Assembly.
NUMBER OF REFUGEES AND RATIONS DISTRIBUTED IN JUNE 1950, 1951, 1952, 953 IN EACH COUNTRY
Refugees Rations Refugees Rations Refugees Rations Refugees Rations
Lebanon ................ 127,600 129,041 106,896 106,068 1/2 103,901 99,903 102,095 97,324 1/2
Syria ................ . 82,194 82,824 82,861 80,499 84,224 80,674 1/2 85,473 79,819 1/2
Jordan .............. 06,200 503,423 465,741 444,403 1/2 469,576 438,775 475,620 431,012Gaza ........................198,227 198,227 199,789 197,233 204,356 198,427 1/2 208,560 199,465
Israel ............... 45,800 45,800 24,380 23,434 3/4 19,616 , 17,176 3/4
...... ...... .......
960,021 959,315 879,667 851,638 3/4 881,673 834,956 3/4 871,748 807,621
No more under UNRWA responsibility.
I. Financial operations
32. As explained in last year's report, the financial operations of the Agency were decentralized with effect from 1 July 1952, and country representatives were invited to assume greater responsibilities for the development of the budget for the Agency's operations in the field. At the same time a new accounting system was introduced whereby expenditure was broken down into a number of categories and the Agency enabled to obtain more accurate analyses of costs. The introduction of the new procedures was effected with little difficulty, and, except for minor refinements, the system remained basically unchanged throughout the year and will continue to operate for the fiscal year 1953-1954.
33. Financial statements for the fiscal year ended 30 June 1953 will be presented in the report of the Board of Auditors, and in accordance with recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions they are not duplicated in the present report. The following comments are made with reference to the financial statements contained in the auditors' report.
Statement of assets and liabilities
34. As set forth in the following summary, the net assets of the Agency have increased by $23.2 million between the beginning and end of the fiscal year:
30 June 30 June
(In millions) Increase
$ $ $
Total assets ........... 46.6 23.1 23.5
Less total liabilities
and reserves .......... 1.3 1.0 .3
Net assets ........... 45.3 22.1 23.2
35. The increase in total assets is due mainly to increases in cash of $22.4 million, and in inventories of $1.1 million; the increase in liabilities is represented mainly by the increase in liquidation reserve of $175,000. The increase in net assets reflects an excess of income over expenditure amounting to $22.7 million, plus net credits of half a million dollars to the working fund, mainly due to adjustments in inventory values carried forward from the previous year.
36. The Agency's total income for the fiscal year amounted to approximately $49.5 million, consisting of $48.8 million in cash contributions, $492,000 in contribution in kind and $446,000 in miscellaneous receipts, less $208,000 for exchange adjustments. Thus, after taking into account $18.8 million in cash held at the beginning of the year, the sum of $68.3 million was available for the Agency's operations during the year. This was far short of the budget of $122.9 million authorized by the General Assembly; nevertheless, the Agency possessed ample resources for its operations, since expenditure on rehabilitation was (as might be expected) far less than the amounts reserved or committed, for which the Agency must secure cash or firm pledges before agreements with the governments may be signed.
37. The following table reflects the major sources of cash contributions pledged and received:
and unpaid Cash
of previous during
year current Balance
Governments pledges year unpaid
$ $ $
of America ....... 80,063,250 36,000,000 44,063,250
United Kingdom of
Great Britain and
Northern Ireland 19,400,160 9,600,000 9,800,160
France ............ 3,142,857 928,571 2,214,286
Near East govern-
ments ............ 762,190 501,774 260,416
Other governments 1,815,516 1,618,409 197,107
Other contributors 190,451 148,022 42,429
105,374,424 48,796,776 56,577,648
38. The unpaid pledges of the United States and the United Kingdom represent mainly sums reserved for the rehabilitation programme agreements or projects which have not yet been initiated. The unpaid pledge of France is available to the Agency when French francs are needed and is paid when requested by the Agency. After meeting its pledges up to 30 June 1952 (amounting to $301,000), Egypt has indicated that it might be unable to make any further cash contributions to the Agency in view of the heavy cost of its contributions
direct to the refugees. While Syria continues to pay for porterage, it has made no direct cash pledges, and no payments were received against the pledges made by Lebanon in respect of the past three years, nor from Israel in respect of the previous year. According to information furnished to the Agency by the Near East governments, they have given aid directly to the refugees amounting to nearly $3 million over the period under review.
39. The budget for the fiscal year ended 30 June 1953, as approved by the General Assembly, was prepared to show how much new cash would be required to finance the Agency's operations. It did not take into account funds of the previous year which had been committed but for which no liabilities arose until after 30 June 1953, the end of the accounting period. Such commitments are usually in the form of unfilled orders placed with suppliers. Likewise, no provision was made in the budget to effect any changes between the physical inventories which were taken at the beginning and end of the fiscal year, or for contributions to the Agency in the form of goods or services in kind, since account has been taken of these factors in assessing the new cash requirements for the year. However, in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles applied by the external auditors, the statements of our financial activities for the year cannot properly include commitments, but on the other hand must reflect changes in opening and closing inventories as well as the utilization or consumption of services and contributions in kind.
40. The following summary reconciles the figures appearing in the statements of the auditors' report for 1952-1953 with those appearing in the approved budget.
Relief Project programme programme Total
$ $ $
Expenditures per auditors'
report ................. 23,400,729 3,378,205 26,778,934
Add (subtract) adjustments
Increase in commitments
between beginning and
end of year ............. 65,382 54,913 120,295
Increase in inventories
between beginning and
end of year ............. 326,265 16,016 342,281
Contributions in kind ... (492,692) (22,928) (515,620)
New cash required ........ 23,299,684 3,426,206 26,725,890
Approved budget for new
cash .................... 23,306,891 99,996,876 123,303,767
41. When preparing the budget for the relief programme in 1952-1953, one of the assumptions was that there would be, on an average for the year, a reduction of 35,000 ration recipients; owing principally to the delay in developing projects (and thereby removing refugees from the ration lists), the number of registered refugees was reduced by only 10,000 over the whole year (from 882,000 to 872,000) and no adjustments in the ration ceiling of 811,000 was possible. Due, however, to the favourable trend of prices, and to administrative economies, the Agency was able to provide for the original number of refugees without exceeding the planned expenditure.
42. Expenditure upon common services was reduced by approximately $273,000, but the share attributed to the relief programme was increased in order to reflect more accurately the proportion of total effort devoted to relief.
43. In accordance with resolution
, adopted by the General Assembly on 26 January 1952, $200 million was authorized to be spent on the rehabilitation programme, the aim of which was to make the refugees independent of relief. During the year under review, programme agreements were concluded with three of the host governments, whereby $111 million of the $200 million were reserved for schemes leading to rehabilitation. The next stage is the determination of projects upon which the sums reserved will be spent, and of the numbers of refugees to be removed from the ration rolls. To date $2.8 million has been spent directly upon such projects, of which $1.6 million applies to the year under review.
44. Although progress in developing projects continued to be slow, there was some improvement over the previous year, as shown by the increase in expenditure by 70 per cent. The following tables summarize direct project expenditure by countries and by types of projects:
Countries (in thousands)
Headquarters .................................. 201
Egypt (including Gaza) ........................ 54
Iraq .......................................... 102
Jordan ........................................ 946
Libya ......................................... 5
Syria ......................................... 319
OTAL DIRECT EXPENDITURE
Research, experimentation and planning ........ 455
Placement ..................................... 5
Training ...................................... 441
Commercial, industrial and banking ............ 500
Agricultural and land development ............. 153
Loans and grants to individuals ............... 73
OTAL DIRECT EXPENDITURE
45. More than 58 per cent of project expenditures were incurred in projects negotiated with Jordan, mainly on engineering surveys for the Yarmuk Valley scheme and the Ghor Nimrin tent factory which will shortly be in full production. In addition, the Agency contributed another $140,000 to the funds of the Jordan Development Bank, bringing its total investment to $560,000.
46. Expenditure in Syria was mainly for vocational training courses, principally in skilled trades. Over $90,000 was spent on the exploitation of uncultivated lands to determine their suitability for agricultural use. Industrial loans were made in Iraq for the purpose of establishing two factories.
47. Most of the remaining expenditure was concerned with vocational training courses, and with special projects not covered by specific programme agreement and therefore operated by Headquarters.
3. FINANCIAL REQUIREMENTS FOR HE NEXT YEAR
48. Although the cash balance at 30 June 1953 amounted to more than $41.1 million, $28.1 million was earmarked by the contributors for projects only and an additional $5.7 million must be set aside to meet liabilities and orders placed but not filled. There is thus only $7.3 million available for the 1953-1954 relief programme.
49. It appears at the moment probable that the $28.1 million earmarked for projects will be adequate to meet the 1953-1954 cash requirements for rehabilitation, but cash or firm pledges will be needed to cover the programme agreements and other rehabilitation requirements to which the Agency is already committed, and which amount to approximately $112.3 million. In addition to $28.1 million of earmarked cash there was, on 30 June 1953, $53.9 million in unpaid pledges reserved for projects only. Thus, $82 million of the $112.3 million is covered by cash or firm pledges, leaving $30.3 million still to be found. Additional pledges, or cash contributions, will have to be forthcoming before the Agency can set aside more of the balance of the $200 rehabilitation fund.
50. Although there is $7.3 million available at 30 June 1953 towards the cash requirements of $25.7 million for the relief programme, nevertheless, the Agency will need to obtain some $26 million in relief contributions during the year in order to have sufficient reserves at the end of the period for financing the purchase of supplies required in the first and second quarters of 1954-1955. In this connexion, it should be borne in mind that the Assembly takes place after the beginning of the financial year, and the Agency's budget is therefore approved only some months later. There usually ensues a further delay before pledges are made and cash received. In order to bridge the gap, it is necessary for the Agency to have in hand at least $10 million, and preferably $15 million, in cash for relief purposes at the beginning of its fiscal year. Thus, the total cash requirements for relief and for forward purchasing (on the assumption that relief will still be required after June 1954) will amount to approximately $30 million (or preferably $33 million).
51. There is a great difference between having enough money to operate properly and just failing to have enough. The one allows the Agency to plan properly, to place orders well in advance and to take advantage of sudden opportunities to secure up to one year's requirements when the price is favourable. The other prohibits all these advantages and is expensive because the shortage of funds until the last moment restricts the buyer to the very limited market where the goods he requires are available in sufficient quantities and sufficiently close at hand to enable him to distribute in time for the ration issue.
52. It is hoped, therefore, that when the decision is taken and the amount to be spent on relief in 1953-1954 is known, the contributors will once again agree to make their contributions readily available, for that is the best way of ensuring that the maximum value is extracted from their gifts.
The relief programme
53. Reference has been made earlier to the need for some $25.7 million in cash for relief in 1953-1954. This requires further explanation in view of the fact that the cost of relief during the past year has amounted to $23.3 million in cash, excluding donations in kind and contributions direct to the refugees. Moreover, next year the cost of education, which in 1952-1953 amounted to about $1 million, has been transferred from the relief to the rehabilitation budget, but this has been replaced in this year's budget by providing $1 million for maintaining a modest stock (about three weeks' consumption) in the pipe line.
54. The number of full rations issued per day last year was 811,000. This compares with the figure of 872,000 refugees registered on the rolls of the Agency. The difference is accounted for by the fact that a number of refugees received only half a ration, while others received none at all. Some 19,000 Bedouins have been on half-rations, while 50,000 others have been on full rations. The arrangement was inherited from the United Nations Relief for Palestine Refugees and has continued unchanged since UNRWA assumed responsibility, but it is the subject of bitter criticism, and there is no logical reason for differentiating between the two groups. Another large group of refugees on half rations consists of children between the ages of one and seven who attained the age of one in February 1952. Previously, all children over one year old received a whole ration; on that date, and for reasons of economy, children in that age group received only half a ration, although those who were already receiving a whole ration continued to do so.
55. The effects of this reduction on the health of the babies was apparent by the time that Dr. van Veen, the nutrition expert from the Food and Agriculture Organization, paid his second visit to the area in the spring of this year. He reported that signs of food deficiency were beginning to appear, and expressed grave alarm at the effects on the younger generation of a prolonged period of under-nutrition. On his recommendation, the supplementary feeding programme was doubled, but this was only enough to enable the doctors to prescribe additional food to a further 3 per cent of the refugees in worst shape, and did not reach the heart of the trouble, which is that half a ration (760 calories) is not enough for a child during the first few years of his life. The remedy is to restore the full ration to the children in that age group, and to issue rations to those children who for one reason or another were never registered with the Agency but who are known to exist on a share of the rations drawn by the other members of the family.
56. There are probably over 30,000 children who are over one year old and who are drawing only half-rations, and approximately 45,000 who do not receive any rations at all. (This latter figure includes some 13,000 who will reach the age of one during the course of the year.) The additional number of rations required to correct these and other anomalies is 63,000, and the cost of supplying the rations will be approximately $1,250,000 in a full year.
57. The remainder of the increase in relief costs for which funds will be required has to do with the acceptance into organized camps of large numbers of refugees who have so far managed to provide their own accommodation, but whose means of doing so are exhausted. There are 87,000 refugees for whom places should be found in UNRWA camps; the cost of increasing the camp population by this number will be roughly $1,500,000 in the first year; the cost in subsequent years will naturally be lower, since the capital items will not be recurring.
58. The total cost of introducing these two measures will be about $2,750,000. Against this may be set a net reduction of some $350,000, representing the excess of administrative economies ($850,000) over the cost of the increase in the supplementary meals programme ($500,000), thus arriving at the increase in relief costs of $2.4 million.
59. Under the three-year plan for the rehabilitation of refugees it was envisaged that the Agency would conclude broad programme agreements with Near East governments for varying amounts up to the total of $200 million, according to the economic opportunities in the country concerned. Within each programme agreement, project agreements would be concluded for specific schemes falling within the following seven categories, namely:
(i) Research, experimentation and planning;
(iv) Industrial and commercial development and banking;
(v) Agricultural development and community facilities;
(vi) Urban housing and community facilities;
(vii) Grants, loans, and other direct aid to refugees.
60. By the end of June 1953, the Agency had concluded four such programme agreements, committing a total of $111 million, with the Governments of Jordan, Syria, and Egypt; in addition, a general agreement for an unspecified amount has been signed with the Libyan Government. Progress towards the implementation of these programme agreements has been as follows:
61. The first agreement with the Jordanian Government was signed on 5 August 1952. This agreement reserved a total amount of $11 million for projects in Jordan with the object of making approximately 5,000 refugee families self-supporting and removing them from the ration rolls. It was expected that expenditure on the various categories of projects would be roughly as follows:
(i) Research, planning and surveys ................ 500,000
(ii) Agricultural .................................. 7,750,000
(iii) Industrial and commercial ..................... 1,250,000
(iv) Urban housing ................................. 500,000
(v) Vocational training ........................... 1,000,000
62. It was considered desirable that projects involving public lands and buildings should be executed through government machinery and that projects involving loans to private enterprise for the development of private lands, and for industrial and commercial undertakings, should be undertaken through the Development Bank, which had already been set up jointly by the Agency and the Jordanian Government for that purpose. It was also envisaged that a system of small loans might be made direct to refugee families. It was understood that the cost of projects approved before the signing of this agreement and still uncompleted (which amounted to about $1 million) should be included in the total of $11 million.
63. The principal activities, under the heading of "Research, planning and surveys", have been the setting up of a soils laboratory in Amman and a series of hydrological surveys of the Wadi Fara's, the Ghor land at the southern end of the Dead Sea, and the Shera'a region. Unfortunately, the lands surveyed proved unsuitable owing to lack of water or other prohibiting factors. Investigations were also made at Azrak in 1951-1953, first with the idea of a limited amount of agricultural development by means of the use of under ground water resources, and secondly with the idea of exploitation by Bedouins as grazing land. However, both of these projects were subsequently abandoned.
64. In the "Agricultural" sector, two small agricultural schemes were already in progress on State lands before the signing of the agreement: one in the Jordan Valley and the other near Jenin. In the former, upon which some $92,000 have been spent to date, some thirty-two refugee families have been placed on 800 dunums at Marj Naja, which they are now cultivating with water from wells surveyed and developed by the Agency. They have received houses, tools, agricultural equipment and livestock; two crops have already been harvested, and it is hoped that these families will soon be removed from the ration lists as self-supporting. The other scheme, which is on rain-fed land (and therefore less costly), has already succeeded in removing 100 refugees from the ration lists for a total expenditure of $17,000.
65. New agricultural schemes undertaken after the signing of the agreement have taken the form of a series of small settlements along the Jordan-Israel frontier. Four of these schemes, to provide for a total of 263 families, are already under construction and several more are planned. These villages, which are located in the hilly outcrops within sight of the land the villagers used to own, will get their water from rock cisterns and will carry on the usual form of rain-fed mountain agriculture.
66. In the third category, that of "Industrial and commercial" projects, the most significant scheme undertaken by the Agency has been the Development Bank established in July 1951 (before the signature of the agreement) under the joint sponsorship of the Jordanian Government, the Agency and the commercial banks, to promote the economic development of the country and the rehabilitation of the refugees. The authorized capital of the bank was $1.4 million, of which 80 per cent was to be contributed by UNRWA, 10 per cent by the Government and 10 per cent by other subscribers. Of this, the cumulative total paid up by the end of June 1953 amounted to $700,000.
67. By 30 June 1953, the number of loans issued was sixty-eight to an amount of $621,000, of which a little over half was for agricultural and about one-third for industrial projects. The normal interest charged is 6 per cent with one exception, repayment obligations have been met on time.
68. The Bank's articles of association provide that loans benefiting refugees are to constitute the same proportion of the total issued, as funds subscribed by UNRWA to the total capital; but, in practice, all borrowers have so far agreed to the employment of a specified number of refugees. It was estimated that, as of 30 June 1953, about 800 refugees (representing some 4,000 persons including dependants) have been employed as a result of bank loans; however, the number removed from Agency ration rolls was negligible. This is the result of the high levels of wages which must be reached before a refugee may be removed from the ration rolls.
69. A programme of small loans to individual refugee families was started in Jordan in 1951 but did not prove successful and was found to involve a disproportionate amount of costly administrative work for very meagre results. The programme was therefore brought to an end.
70. The other main scheme undertaken in the industrial category has been the erection of an Agency tent factory at Ghor Nimrin in the Jordan Valley at an estimated cost of $69,000, exclusive of operating and inventory costs. The construction of this factory was not quite complete by the end of June, but some 100 tents had already been produced by workers in training. When in full production, the factory is expected to produce 1,000 tents a month and to employ some 200 men who, with their families, will be accommodated on the spot in a housing estate constructed by the Government with British loan funds. It was stated in the project agreement that if, as anticipated, there should be a regular demand from buyers other than UNRWA, the factory would be operated by a refugee co-operative society, or by private business representing refugee interests. (One order has already been received from outside sources.)
71. In the category of "Urban housing" the Agency undertook jointly with the Jordanian Government the erection of fifty houses on the outskirts of Amman, for the benefit of refugees who had already found employment in the city and who would be enabled, by the provision of a house at a nominal charge, to become self-supporting. This scheme, which was completed towards the end of 1952, cost $68,000 and resulted in the removal of 250 names from the Agency's lists. Further housing projects of this type are under consideration for other towns in Jordan, but so far none have been started.
72. The schemes undertaken under the "Vocational training" heading have already resulted in the commitment of the greater part of the $1 million provided. The most important of these is the establishment of a technical training school for 600 boys and young men at Kalundia, near Jerusalem, at an estimated cost of $400,000. The buildings were almost complete by the end of June, and it is hoped that the school will open at the beginning of the academic year. A similar scheme for girls is also under preparation. Other training schemes now in progress include courses ranging from six months to three years for midwives, pharmacy attendants, teachers, laboratory technicians, nurses and statisticians, which cover a total of more than 200 students.
73. At the end of March 1953, a second broad programme agreement with the Jordanian Government was concluded, concerning the Yarmuk-Jordan Valley scheme for the irrigation of the Jordan Valley. Under the agreement, the Government undertook to facilitate the necessary surveys to determine whether a decision to proceed with the scheme was justified and, if so, to negotiate major project agreements defining the amount of money to be committed by UNRWA, the number of refugees to be employed and the self-support opportunities to be made available. The Agency under-took, pending the completion of the economic and engineering surveys, to reserve up to $40 million during the period ending 31 December 1953. The amounts to be reserved or committed would be related to the number of refugees to be removed from the ration rolls under project agreements.
74. It was expected that the surveys would cost a total of $1.5 million, which would be shared between the Agency, the United States Technical Co-operation Administration, British loan funds, and the Jordanian Government. Up to the end of June 1953, the Agency had allotted $856,000 towards the cost of these surveys and related activities, of which $233,000 has been spent. The work at present in progress includes an engineering survey, for which contracts have been concluded with two United States firms; a soils survey; an agricultural and economic survey to determine the number of holdings at present occupied in the area to be developed; an aerial topographical survey; an antiquities survey; and an anti-malaria campaign, to protect the survey crews working on the Yarmuk project, as well as, eventually, the settlers in the area.
75. An approach road, some thirty kilometres in length, from Irbid to the dam site, is under construction, employing some 600 refugees, and drilling operations at the site have been started. It is as yet too early to make any detailed estimate of the number of refugees that might be made self-supporting as a result of the scheme, since this will depend upon many factors that cannot yet be accurately assessed, but preliminary estimates indicate that some 150,000 persons might benefit, of which 100,000 would be engaged in agriculture and 50,000 through secondary employment.
76. A programme agreement has been signed with the Syrian Government under which UNRWA under-took to reserve $30 million for a programme which would improve the living conditions of the refugees in Syria, over a period ending 30 June 1954, under the following general categories:
(i) Technical training ................... 3,000,000
(ii) Education ............................ 2,000,000
(iii) Industry and commerce ................ 1,000,000
(iv) Agriculture .......................... 24,000,000
77. The Syrian Government undertook to provide the necessary legislation and regulations, to contribute public land where available and to assure to refugees the maximum benefit from the expenditure of UNRWA funds. The facilities provided by UNRWA on State land would become the property of the Syrian Government when no longer required by the refugees.
78. Up to the end of June 1953, the amount spent out of the $30 million was approximately $500,000. Before the signing of the agreement there had been comparatively little rehabilitation activity in Syria, except for a limited programme of small loans to individual refugees, the expenditure on which was carried forward and debited to the programme agreement. As in Jordan, experience proved that the chances of success were small and in June 1953 it was decided to restrict the scope of the scheme considerably.
79. It is hoped that a new programme can be developed for larger loans to commercial enterprises under the "Industry and commerce" category so that the refugees can benefit under the terms of the contract from the employment to be created, rather than as individual borrowers. But, so far, the necessary government approval has not yet been received.
80. Activity under the "Technical training" and "Education" categories has been greater, and the Government has shown a marked interest in the development of this aspect of the programme agreement. Some $102,000 has been allotted to date on courses for university students, teachers, shorthand-typists and accountants, dressmakers, medical orderlies, midwives and other medical personnel. An amount of $231,000 was earmarked for education for refugee children in Syria for the past year and has also been debited to the $30 million.
81. Progress in agricultural schemes has so far been disappointing. Some $145,500 has been expended up to the end of the fiscal year, mainly on projects of an experimental and preliminary nature. The Syrian Government proposed two areas of 1,700 dunums and 160,000 dunums near Homs and Damascus, respectively. The first, at Dabaa, will be used, it is hoped, for the rehabilitation of twenty refugee families, the products of whose labour will support not only themselves but also an orphanage for eighty children. The second, at Ramadan, consists of a tract of marginal desert land on the outskirts of the Damascus oasis, of which some 43,000 dunums are flat and might be irrigated; incomplete soil tests have so far limited the area capable of development to 10,000 dunums. A large proportion of the soil contains unacceptable amounts of salt or alkalies, though it might produce satisfactory crops if properly prepared, and if adequate supplies of water are available. Eleven wells have so far been drilled, but the indications are that much of the underground water is too salty for irrigation, and only one is producing sufficient quantities of sweet water to be of any use. These factors involve high initial costs, which have already amounted to some $88,000; the land is at present being used for the growing of experimental crops, and it is as yet too early to make any assessment of the number of families that might eventually make a living there.
82. Attempts have also been made to find areas suitable for more significant agricultural development, and two survey expeditions have been made for this purpose in north and north-east Syria. The conclusion reached as a result of these surveys was that the area had great potentialities and that opportunities existed on State domain land, not only for major schemes, but also for many projects involving only minor pumping from the Euphrates, which could be completed and put to use comparatively quickly. Detailed topographical,
engineering and soils surveys would have to be made before the suitability of any given site for a major scheme could be accurately assessed, but so far government permission for these surveys has not been forthcoming.
83. The Gaza strip, where 200,000 refugees are concentrated, is too small and too barren to provide a satisfactory livelihood even for the original population as long as it remains isolated from its natural hinterland, and there is little chance of any rehabilitation in the area. However, on 11 December 1952, a programme agreement was signed with the Egyptian Government, earmarking the amount of $300,000 for a vocational training scheme in Gaza. Under the agreement $17,000 has been allotted so far for construction of the school. When it is completed many of the existing small training schemes, such as weaving, embroidery, rug-making, bookbinding, cane work, shoemaking and carpentry, which are more in the nature of welfare activities than true vocational training, will be closed down or transferred to the "Welfare" budget. The vocational training school itself, which will ultimately have a capacity of about 400 students, will give courses for foundry workers, blacksmiths, carpenters and for car maintenance and repairs. It is also proposed, under the agreement, to set up an agricultural training school in the Gaza area.
84. On 30 June, a broad programme agreement was signed between UNRWA and the Government of Egypt. This agreement, which was drawn up along the lines of that concluded for the Yarmuk-Jordan Valley scheme, provided for the co-operation of the two parties in searching for practicable projects in the Sinai Peninsula, as well as in the Gaza District, and in their speedy execution. The Agency undertook to reserve an amount of approximately $30 million for these projects, pending the completion of economic and engineering surveys for which it would advance the necessary funds up to a maximum of $500,000. If, as a result of the surveys, it should be decided to proceed with specific schemes, project agreements would be negotiated by 31 December 1953, defining the amount of money to be committed by UNRWA and the approximate number of refugees to be rendered self-supporting.
85. Extensive searches in 1952 had failed to find underground water resources in the Sinai; the present scheme approaches the problem from a new angle, since it is proposed to make use of Nile water, brought to and siphoned under the Suez Canal, to irrigate an area of some 120,000 dunums in north-western Sinai. The survey funds may also be used for investigating the possibilities of exploiting mineral resources in the Sinai area and for developing commercial enterprises.
86. Towards the end of 1952, the Egyptian authorities in Gaza suggested a number of small agricultural development schemes in the Gaza strip, such as the afforestation of sand dunes, dry farming on sand, and the more intensive cultivation of existing cultivated areas by increased irrigation. Joint committees of UNRWA and Egyptian experts are examining these possibilities, and if it is decided that any of them are feasible, they will be financed under the $30 million agreement.
87. On 23 November 1952, an agreement was concluded between the Agency and the Government of Libya, by which it was agreed that the Government would admit a number of refugees and would allow them to be established on a self-supporting basis, and would in due course confer on those who applied the rights and privileges enjoyed by citizens of Libya.
88. Although the number of refugees was not specified in the agreement, an understanding was subsequently reached by an exchange of letters, as a result of which 1,200 families (about 6,000 persons) would be covered by the scheme of which 1,000 would be agricultural and 200 artisan families. On the evidence at present available, it is expected that some $2 million will be involved in the rehabilitation of this number of refugees in Libya. All that has so far been achieved has been the establishment of a few artisan families who were assisted by the Agency to find work. Investigations are being made into the possibilities of large-scale agricultural projects.
89. In addition to those negotiated with governments, a limited number of projects of a more general nature are being operated as headquarters' schemes.
These include research projects, placement activities, projects involving the acquisition of capital equipment (such as drilling rigs) for general use, and training courses run in countries with which no programme agreement has as yet been concluded (such as Lebanon). A total of $179,000 has been expended on such Headquarters projects up to 30 June 1953.
90. In addition, any rehabilitation activity in Iraq is at present classified as headquarters expenditure. The Iraqi Government has from the beginning taken full responsibility for the 5,000 refugees within the country and the Agency therefore maintains only a small office in Baghdad. A teachers' training course for sixty refugee students from Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Gaza has already been completed; and two loan agreements have been concluded for the purpose of establishing respectively a clothing factory and a candy factory to employ refugees from other countries. By the end of the fiscal year neither of these projects had reached the stage of production and difficulties were being experienced in obtaining entry visas for prospective refugee employees.
91. The Agency has also assisted dependants to join heads of families who have found employment in other countries. Some fifty persons were thus moved at a total cost of $1,817.
92. The Agency has decided to invite the governments concerned to accept responsibility for refugees claiming nationality other than Palestinian, who are willing to be repatriated. The Agency would in such cases pay for the travel to their countries of origin. In the case of refugees of Syrian and Lebanese origin, the Agency will undertake discussions with the governments with a view to their assuming responsibility for their nationals, numbering approximately 8,000 in all.
93. The Agency has set up an employment registry, where refugees are encouraged to record their skills and qualifications. Contacts are maintained with prospective employers in the Arab States, and when vacancies are notified to the Agency applications from suitable candidates are forwarded. The register also provides information for the selection of refugees for Agency projects and vocational training schemes. In spite of the difficulties created by national labour laws and travel restrictions, the Placement Service has so far succeeded in finding more or less permanent posts for some 740 persons; and several thousands have been chosen for temporary jobs, mostly on Agency projects.
94. A comparison of the requests from potential employers with the occupational index thus far compiled shows that there is a serious shortage in the Near East of experienced teachers, accountants, short-hand-typists, medical personnel, engineers, surveyors, draftsmen, and agricultural and vocational instructors. On the other hand, there is a large surplus among the refugees of ex-government clerks and senior employees for whom no work can be found, farmers without land, former landowners without qualifications, and labourers without trade or special skill of any kind. This again points to the need for vocational training for the refugees, for which a firm basis of primary education is essential.
1. ORGANIZATION, PERSONNEL AND BUDGET
95. The headquarters organization of the Health Division consists of a chief, a deputy chief, an epidemiologist, a sanitation and camps maintenance officer, a nursing services officer, a nutritionist, a medical supply officer, a statistical clerk, a malaria technician, an administrative assistant, a clinic nurse and clerical staff of five persons.
96. The Chief, Health Division, the epidemiologist and the sanitation and camps maintenance officer (who is a public health engineer) are all supplied by the World Health Organization, the last-named on a reimbursable basis. By agreement with UNRWA, WHO is responsible for the technical direction of the medical programme, and nominates and provides the Chief Medical Officer of the Agency.
97. The health programme in each of the host countries (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Gaza, Egypt) is administered by a field health officer responsible technically to the Chief, Health Division, at headquarters and administratively to the UNRWA Representative. Field health officers operate in accordance with the policy laid down by Beirut headquarters, but have sufficient freedom to adapt their programme to the particular features of the host country's health programme. They also maintain a close liaison with the officials of the Ministries of Health and the local health departments.
98. Each field health officer is assisted in field headquarters by a field nursing officer, a field camp and sanitation officer, and a medical supply officer. The basic medical unit common to all countries is the camp clinic, operated by a medical officer, with the assistance of a camp nurse, staff nurse, practical nurse, nurse-aid and midwife. The number of staff is variable according to the size of the camp and clinic. The sanitation service includes sanitary labourers and foremen in camps, and sanitary sub-inspectors at area level.
99. The table hereunder shows the personnel establishment as at 15 June 1953 according to the country, occupation and whether international or area staff. The column "Others" includes administrative, clerical, sanitary above the labour category, laboratory, pharmaceutical and medical supply personnel. The table includes only personnel on the UNRWA payroll and not the hundreds of workers at hospitals subsidized by the Agency and providing service to the refugees.
PERSONNEL AS AT 15 JUNE 1953
Doctors Dentists midwives attendants Others Labourers
Inter- Inter- Inter-
national Local Local national Local Local national Local Local
Headquarters 3 0 0 1 1 0 3 8 0
Lebanon .... 1 19 1 1 14 35 0 84 82
Syria ...... 1 13 2 1 14 37 0 25 87
Jordan ..... 1 33 4 2 30 149 0 218 322
Gaza ....... 1 12 2 1 17 45 0 76 470
7 77 9 6 76 266 3 411 961
The above table reflects the Agency's policy of gradually replacing international staff members by area staff as trained personnel become available.
100. The total cost to UNRWA of the health and camp maintenance programmes for refugees during the twelve months' period of 1 July 1952 to 30 June 1953 was $3,294,000. This sum includes salaries, wages, medical supplies, subsidies for medical institutions, public health and sanitation services. A major item of the total expenditure was for maintenance and improvement of living accommodation in camps.
2. CO-OPERATIVE ARRANGEMENTS WITH GOVERNMENTS,
THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION AND OTHER AGENCIES
101. During the past twelve months there has been active, fruitful and close co-operation with the medical departments of the various host countries. Frequent meetings have taken place where medical problems have been discussed and ways and means sought to reduce difficulties to a minimum and to provide for the smooth-running of the medical services. In many instances, for example, the Government will allow an out-patient clinic to be used where there is no corresponding UNRWA clinic. Laboratory facilities are made available free of charge in other instances. Hospitalization facilities are provided free of charge or at a reduced rate. Joint anti-malarial campaigns are conducted. Special facilities for the diagnosis and out-patient treatment of tuberculosis are made available to the refugees. Epidemiological information is exchanged, vaccines are supplied for inoculation campaigns, some of which have been conducted jointly in small communities made up of both refugees and the nationals of the countries concerned. There is cooperation and assistance in carrying out the various medical training projects.
102. In addition to the personnel provided, WHO has repeated its cash contribution of $42,857 to the Agency. The Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office of WHO at Alexandria has provided consultative services from time to time at the request of the Agency. The Agency has continued to support and utilize the government laboratory in Jordan established with the assistance of WHO.
103. Valuable assistance has been received from UNICEF and FAO. The former has provided supplies of fish oil capsules, diphtheria toxoid and soap. FAO has again provided the valuable services of a consultant nutritionist.
104. Special mention must be made of the role of voluntary agencies in the area. Several of the hospitals providing care for the refugees are mission hospitals, and in some instances are supported by subsidies provided by the Agency. In addition, assistance has also been given for the maintenance of clinics, supplementary feeding centres, training projects and other activities.
3. HEALTH OF REFUGEES
105. Of the treaty diseases (cholera, yellow fever, smallpox, typhus and louse-borne relapsing fever) only one case of epidemic typhus was recorded. A list of the infectious diseases among the refugees for the
From 15 June 1952 to 13 June 1953 inclusive
Lebanon Syria Jordan Gaza Total
102,000 85,000 475,000 270,000 932,000
Plague .................... 0 0 0 0 0
Cholera ................... 0 0 0 0 0
Yellow fever .............. 0 0 0 0 0
Smallpox .................. 0 0 0 0 0
Louse-borne ............. 0 0 1 0 1
Endemic ................. 0 0 0 0 0
Relapsing fever ........... 0 2 50 31 83
Diphtheria ................ 15 9 88 7 119
Measles ................... 4,466 708 1,664 13,151 19,989
Whooping cough ............ 667 189 1,473 1,576 3,905
Meningitis ................ 2 4 30 40 76
Poliomyelitis ............. 13 11 13 3 40
Typhoid (Para A and B) .... 138 162 804 387 1,491
Amoebic dysentery ......... 4,994 1,062 3,112 210 9,378
Bacillary dysentery ....... 2,645 12 2,815 371 5,843
Non-specific dysentery .... 25,725 12,887 18,427 12,172 69,211
Malaria ................... 5,160 2,732 30,647 66 38,605
Bilharzia ................. 4 0 5 108 117
Trachoma .................. 13,860 5,860 197,108 18,301 235,129
Conjunctivitis ............36,662 13,916 150,378 20,579 221,535
Tuberculosis .............. 180 243 1,533 396 2,352
Syphilis .................. 57 135 204 405 801
Mumps ..................... 0 220 128 70 418
Population at risk, for whom statistics are available, including some non-refugees in Gaza.
These numbers are not therefore the same as registered ration recipients.
period 15 June 1952 to 13 June 1953 gives an idea of the common diseases of this category encountered in the area (see table 2).
106. The immunization campaigns against smallpox, enteric fevers and diphtheria succeeded in eliminating smallpox and in reducing greatly the incidence of enteric fevers and diphtheria.
107. The measles epidemic, which was more severe in Gaza and Lebanon and touched Syria and Jordan only lightly, was successfully handled. The eye infections and dysenteries still head the list of communicable diseases which are peculiar to this region. A significant reduction in their incidence will follow only if environmental sanitation is raised far above existing standards in the rural communities of the Middle East.
108. The transmission of tuberculosis by open cases is being controlled by increasing activity in discovering the cases and, as far as possible, isolating them. The efforts made to secure enough hospital beds for tubercular patients have helped in reducing the acuteness of this problem.
109. Other diseases like syphilis, bilharzia and poliomyelitis, though present, are considered to be in a low endemic form.
110. Accurate vital statistics are difficult to obtain. The crude death rate is believed to be in the neighbourhood of 20 per 1,000, which is approximately that of the Palestine population in the pre-emergency days. The birth rate is high, 39.64, as estimated in the Gaza district where an infant mortality rate of 116 has been recorded.
4. CLINICS AND HOSPITALS
111. Table 3, below, gives attendance figures at seventy-nine Agency clinics during the year.
Lebanon Syria Jordan Gaza Total
Population served by medical
....... 102,000 85,000 349,000 300,000
General medical .... 454,619 330,408 457,462 402,199 1,644,688
Dressings and skin ... 286,094 251,894 547,123 561,711 1,646,822
Eye cases ......... 247,326 110,948 868,220 697,325 1,923,819
School health ........ 15,574 44,228 125,921 772,198 957,921
Maternal ............. 12,029 10,432 13,490 55,529 91,480
Infants .............. 86,453 57,407 116,474 134,463 394,797
Venereal diseases ... 1,166 5,073 571 546 7,356
Others .............. 27,571 23,286 41,938 24,058 116,853
Figures are based on Field Health Officer's monthly reports for the period ending
15 June 1953 and do not represent total number of refugees in respective countries.
Includes services to refugees by the Public Health Department and the Red Crescent
Society, Gaza--also services by UNRWA to Gaza non-refugees.
The number of hospital beds maintained by or reserved for the Agency as of 15 June 1953 was as follows:
Lebanon ............................ 246
Syria .............................. 155
Jordan ............................. 976
Gaza ............................... 612
5. INSECT AND MALARIA CONTROL
112. In a sub-tropical climate where insect-borne diseases undermine the vitality of the inhabitants and offer the greatest handicap to the successful development of and settlement on the land, an insect control programme has been regarded as a major public health activity of UNRWA's Health Division in order to protect the scattered refugees against malaria, typhus, relapsing fevers, as well as the fly-transmitted enteric fevers, dysenteries and eye infections. This insect control programme, including anti-malaria residual spraying, anti-fly campaigns, delousing, anti-flea and antibedbug measures, is executed among other activities by the field sanitation staff of each country.
113. During 1952-1953, anti-malaria activities were concentrated in the known malarious areas around refugee settlements in Tyre and Tripoli, in Lebanon, in villages of southern Syria, and in the Jordan Valley and frontier villages in Jordan. Malaria surveys in potential development areas as in the Yarmuk-Jordan Valley and in Kerak constituted a major activity, and a three-month training course for five malaria technicians was conducted.
114. A follow-up of the weekly records of clinical malaria diagnosed by UNRWA medical officers in the field, together with blood and entomological surveys, aided in appraising the results of the campaign. In the following table are shown the percentages of the clinical malaria records among refugee patients attending UNRWA polyclinics during the height of the malaria incidence (October to December inclusive) in 1951 and 1952.
Lebanon Syria Jordan Jordan Gaza
October ....... 2.9 3.6 10.3 3.8 0.0
November ...... 2.3 2.6 11.6 3.4 0.0
December ...... 1.9 1.0 11.6 2.0 0.0
October ....... 1.4 0.8 13.0 4.5 0.0
November ...... 1.6 1.4 18.5 5.6 0.0
December ...... 1.1 0.9 12.7 4.4 0.0
115. It is to be noted from the table that Gaza is still maintaining its freedom from malaria since the eradication of its vector in 1949. In Lebanon and Syria, the malaria trend is becoming lower and lower, thanks to UNRWA's past year's activities and the growing appreciation of the Governments of their malaria problems. In Jordan, though the campaign undoubtedly prevented flagrant malaria epidemics, it did not afford complete protection to the inhabitants of the villages in the north-eastern part of the Jordan Valley. This was traced to a change of behaviour in the local mosquito vectors, which are shunning the DDT-ed surfaces and choosing natural caves and cracks in the hills as daytime resting places. In Lebanon the DDT residual spraying during 1953 was confined to refugee camps, on the understanding that the WHO team and the Government will take charge of spraying the surrounding villages. In Syria, UNRWA is spraying more than sixty villages in the malarious south-western part where refugees are scattered, and the Syrian Government is taking charge of a similar number of villages in the south-eastern part. In Jordan, an agreement was reached to create a project for the Yarmuk-Jordan Valley anti-malarial campaign to be administratively under the Yarmuk Policy Committee and technically guided by the UNRWA epidemiologist. The work is based on larvidical operation supplemented with a DDT spraying of frontier villages. The work started on 1 May 1953 and is progressing satisfactorily. It is hoped that this backbone of malaria prevalence in Jordan, namely, the Yarmuk-Jordan Valley stretch, will be broken by this year's operation, to prepare the way for the final eradication of malaria from Jordan.
116. The insecticidal campaign against flies is maintained in all organized camps. It consists of a weekly spraying of all fly-breeding and fly-attracting surfaces with 4 per cent chlordane emulsion or solution. Weekly fly indices estimated by the sanitary foreman of each camp one day before the spraying give a rough idea of the prevalence of flies in each camp. The fly problem has been diminishing, mostly because of the sanitary developments in the camps, namely the gradual replacement of the pit latrines with septic tank latrines, the construction of borehole latrines in coastal areas, and the incineration or controlled dumping of garbage.
117. Delousing of refugees, either in general as performed during February of each year or on a selective basis as performed at other times, constitutes an important work for the sanitary staff.
118. Investigations regarding the development of DDT resistance by the local lice strains, especially after four years of intensive dusting with 10 per cent DDT in talcum, are being carried out by the Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine, United States Department of Agriculture, Orlando, Florida, and the latest information received was that only a very slight resistance has been noted.
119. Control of fleas and bedbugs is carried out in infested camps by insecticidal spraying of the floors of premises in the case of fleas, and by proper preparation of the walls of the rooms before the spraying with 4 per cent chlordane solution in the case of bedbugs.
6. ENVIRONMENTAL SANITATION
120. The Health Division is responsible for the maintenance of proper sanitation in organized camps, and environmental sanitation programmes are conducted by the field camp maintenance and sanitation officers. The number of sanitary labourers is approximately one per 400 refugees in camps. In most camps there are one or more sanitary foremen. This sanitation and maintenance staff has as its principal functions the cleaning and maintenance of latrines, the sweeping of the camp areas, and the collection and disposal of garbage.
121. Since June 1952 the number of refugees reported as registered has decreased by about 10,000, yet the total camp population has risen by over 15,000. The percentage of refugees living in camps has risen
slightly, to 31.5 per cent.
122. Water shortages experienced during the past have not this year been a major problem. Certain camps have had a limited supply, but in no cases did the situation become as serious as in previous summers. Improvements in camp water supply and storage facilities have been made, and particular attention has been paid to Gaza. The quality of the water supply remains variable, but in most cases the municipal sources of water are accepted as good although only a few of these are chlorinated. A system of routine bacteriological examinations of all water supplies is being established. This will form a check upon the normal sanitary surveys.
123. The number of tents used as refugee accommodation has decreased considerably in Lebanon, Syria and Gaza where they have been replaced by straw or mud huts. In Jordan, however, the number of tents has increased. Huts have several advantages over tents as they provide better accommodation, are less expensive to build and maintain, and do not require periodic replacement.
124. Following the surveys of the nutritional state of the refugees made in 1950 and 1951, and by Dr. Burgess, Chief of the Nutrition Section of WHO, and by Dr. van Veen, Senior Supervisory Officer of the Nutrition Division of FAO, in 1952, a further visit was paid by Dr. van Veen in February 1953 in order to advise the Agency regarding the basic ration and on supplementary feeding. As a result of their recommendations, the number of persons eligible for the receipt of supplementary meals was increased from 3 to 6 per cent of the rationed refugee population. Further major improvements were also effected by the introduction of [i:burghol] (par-boiled wheat) in supplementary feeding along with [i:hommos] (chick-peas) at the same meal, in order to improve the nutritional value of the meal.
125. The basic ration remains unchanged and is shown in table 5.
126. The supplementary meal referred to above is a meal of some 500-600 calories provided partly by items from the basic rations and partly by fresh foodstuffs such as meat, fruit and vegetables bought locally, as well as
and hommos. These supplementary meals are intended for those refugees who have been found by the Agency medical officers to be suffering from signs of nutritional deficiency or who are below acceptable health standards. On medical recommendation they are provided with an extra meal once a day for an approved period, when they are again medically examined and, if necessary, are granted a further period of supplementary feeding. The recently authorized increase of from 3 per cent of the total rationed population to 6 per cent will allow for a considerably greater number of borderline cases to be given extra meals. Feeding centres in some areas are operated by medical personnel, in others by welfare, but all are under medical supervision. There is a planned menu for the whole week and each meal includes fresh vegetables, as well as fresh orange or fresh tomato juice and cod-liver oil for the children.
Commodity per month per month
Flour .................................. 10,000 36,000
Pulses ................................. 600 2,100
Oils and fats ........................,. 375 3,375
Sugar .................................. 600 2,400
Rice ................................... 500 1,755
TOTAL 12,075 45,630
Additional in winter period:
Dates .................................. 500 1,250
Pulses ................................. 300 1,050
GRAND TOTAL 12,875 47,930
8. SPECIAL CAMPAIGNS
127. In the majority of camp clinics a special section is set apart for the treatment of eye diseases. These departments function under the supervision of the camp doctor, and the treatment prescribed by him is carried out by an ophthalmic orderly. Such centres are particularly busy when acute conjunctivitis is superimposed on the chronic underlying and widespread trachoma. To a great extent, treatment consists of the use of mild antiseptic drops and the application of penicillin streptomycin ointment, which is a potent remedy for the conjunctivitis and to a certain extent also helps on the trachoma. A more limited experience with terramycin in trachoma cases shows improvement in the condition without demonstrating any particular advantage over the penicillin-streptomycin ointment. In St. John's Ophthalmic Hospital, Jerusalem, a controlled experiment is at present being carried out regarding the effect of aureomycin on the same disease. Trachoma is a disease which is much affected by social conditions, being most common in those communities where there is overcrowding and poor hygienic conditions. It is hoped that, not only by means of modern therapeutic methods, but also by means of health education, it will be possible to reduce the incidence of this disease and to bring it under control.
128. As maternal and child health is an aspect of paramount importance in the Agency's programme of preventive medicine, an extensive service has been established to supervise and advise the expectant mother during her pregnancy and, after delivery, to provide her with instruction in the care of her infant. All larger towns, villages and camps have established ante-natal clinics which pregnant woman are encouraged to attend regularly for medical supervision. Deliveries may take place in the home, in the camp lying-in ward, or in the hospital. In the first two locations, the confinement usually takes place under the supervision of the village or camp midwife. Constant efforts are being made to raise the standard of the village and camp midwives, partly by getting them to attend antenatal clinics and so improve their knowledge of aseptic techniques and how to deal with pregnancy. In addition, student-midwife training courses, varying from six to nine months in length, are periodically conducted in the various countries, during which a sound and solid training is given.
129. Mass immunization campaigns against diphtheria, smallpox and enteric fever have been carried out among children both of the school and pre-school age.
130. In the infant health centres, to which all mothers are encouraged to bring their children regularly and if possible once weekly, a standard chart is maintained of the weight and height of each infant attending, together with any other records of importance, e.g., immunizations performed, previous infectious diseases suffered, diet prescribed, vitamins given, etc., as is usual in the ordinary infant health clinic. Mothers are also given instruction in the correct method of bathing and dressing the baby, in simple rules of health and hygiene, and on diet and methods of weaning. Where there are signs of retarded progress or loss of weight, the infant is referred by the clinic doctor to the supplementary feeding centre where one or, if necessary, two extra meals a day will be provided until the normal state of health is restored.
131. The nursing services continue to provide the nursing staff in the fourteen hospitals and seventy-nine clinics which the Agency operates. In the hospitals nursing attention is provided to the surgical, medical, gynaecological and other departments, both to in-patients and out-patients, while routine treatments are carried out in the clinics attached to camps or other centres. In addition, the nursing service is very closely connected with the special clinics, the pre-natal clinics, the infant health clinics, school health examinations, ophthalmic clinics, venereal disease control, supplementary feeding centres, immunization campaigns and home visiting.
132. The venereal disease control campaign has continued during the course of the year. There has been a 50 per cent decrease in the over-all incidence of reported cases of syphilis during the period covered by the present report. The standard method of treatment continues unchanged, consisting of three million units of procaine penicillin in 2 per cent aluminium monostearate usually distributed over five or six days. Gonorrhoea as reported shows a very low incidence.
133. The Third Middle East Medical Symposium was held at the American University of Beirut between 17 and 19 April 1953. Over 400 doctors participated, of whom fifty-eight were Agency-employed medical officers. A wide variety of scientific subjects was discussed and leading speakers of international repute contributed to the Symposium, which was also attended by the Director-General of WHO. Assistance was provided by the Agency to the medical faculty of the University in the preparation and direction of the Symposium.
134. In Jordan, opportunities have been provided for Agency-employed medical officers to spend two weeks in residence in the Augusta Victoria Hospital, Jerusalem, for special post-graduate training.
9. MEDICAL AND SANITARY SUPPLIES
135. The establishment of central pharmacies has been developed during the year. This allows for more rapid decentralization of bulk supplies, and for a greater degree of local supervision and economy of usage in the countries. Two such central control points are now in use in Jordan, and one each in Syria, Lebanon and Gaza. Purchases of medical supplies continued to be made mainly through the procurement facilities of WHO. During the year medical supplies to a value of over $230,000 were received from various procurement sources.
10. TRAINING IN PARA-MEDICAL FIELDS
136. The year 1952-1953 has been a very active one in training in the para-medical field. Of the training projects carried out during the year, some were a continuation of projects commenced during the previous year but not yet completed. Others were new projects initiated during the period under review. These included the training of ration-receiving refugees as nurses, midwives, mental nurses, health educators, laboratory technicians, malaria technicians, X-ray technicians, pharmacy attendants and machine packers, tuberculosis and operating theatre orderlies, and childbirth attendants. A list of training projects undertaken, in progress, or completed during the period July 1952-June 1953 is given below in table 6.
July 1952 to June 1953
Type of course (months) trainees
Health education ............................. 6 1
Health education ............................. 21 1
General nursing .............................. 36 73
Mental nursing ............................... 36 4
Midwives ..................................... 18 7
Tuberculosis nursing ......................... 9 3
Medical orderlies ............................ 9 12
Operating theatre orderlies .................. 6 2
Childbirth attendants ........................ 6 34
X-ray technicians ............................ 12 2
Laboratory technicians ....................... 12/24 19
Malaria technicians .......................... 3 5
Pharmacy attendants .......................... 6 8
All categories 171
137. In Jordan, with the assistance and close co-operation of the Lutheran World Federation, three training projects are being run in the Augusta Victoria Hospital. The first is a general nursing training scheme in which UNRWA, the Lutheran World Federation and the Jordan Government are taking part. Some 100 nurses, of whom fifty-nine are refugees, are undergoing a three years' training course on the block system, i. e., successive groups of fifteen nurses are called into the training school for a period of intensive training and lectures, after which they return to their respective hospitals to do practical training in the wards until their next period in the training school is due. In the midwives training project, an eighteen-month course of high standard is being given at the same hospital to seven refugee nurses under the direction of the doctor in charge of the obstetrical department. General nursing lectures are given by the nursing training officer, and midwifery lectures are given by the visiting midwife sister tutor. Combined with this course the students also have practical experience in home deliveries and in working in a Child Health Centre. At the present time, nineteen students are being trained as laboratory technicians in the Government Laboratory, Jerusalem. Of these, three are senior students undergoing a two-year course, while sixteen are being trained for one year. The Agency provides training stipends, lecturers' fees, equipment and materials, WHO provides the services of instructors, while the Government provides accommodation; the whole course is under the general direction of the Government Laboratory Director.
138. In Lebanon, ten childbirth attendants completed a six-month course of training. At the present time, four male students are undergoing a three-year course in mental nursing in Asfuriyeh Mental Hospital, while three tuberculosis orderlies are being trained for nine months in Hamlin Sanatorium.
139. In Syria, one student is at present taking a four-year course in nursing at the National School of Nursing. Twelve orderlies are being prepared for village settlement work by means of a nine-month course of instruction. Six childbirth attendants have also commenced a course to last six months.
140. In Gaza, ten nursing students have completed one year of training and eight of them are now continuing into the second year. Two operation theatre orderlies have received six months' training.
141. At headquarters, five students have undergone a three-month course of training as malaria technicians, and have all obtained employment in connexion with the Yarmuk scheme.
142. One project of health education organized by headquarters has been carried out in Jordan for a period of six months, in which a health educator trained in the WHO Health Education Centre, Tanta (Egypt), lived and worked in a group of camps in the Nablus area carrying out health education among the camp residents with encouraging results. In order to continue this experiment a second project has been made in which the health educator will work for another period of six months in a selected camp, after which the value of his contribution to raising the standards of health in the camp will be assessed. He has also assisted, during part of the work period, in the production of health education films, and in broadcasting simple talks in Arabic on health education.
143. Most encouraging progress reports have been received about the refugee students for whom the Agency has succeeded in obtaining fellowships from the United States Technical Co-operation Administration tenable at the American University of Beirut. At present sixteen refugee students are holders of these fellowships, two in medical technology (two-year course), six for laboratory technicians, and eight for sanitarians. All these students are due to qualify at the end of September 1953. For the coming year it is hoped to obtain further fellowships from TCA. Of the thirteen who were awarded these TCA fellowships at the American University of Beirut last year, all were successful in obtaining employment, including the three public health nurses, of whom two obtained government employment in Libya and one was employed by the TCA authorities in Lebanon.
144. The expansion of the UNRWA-UNESCO schools from classes conducted by individuals and voluntary organizations to an established system of education administered by UNRWA has been fully described in previous reports. The present report is, therefore, confined to the educational operations during the past school year.
145. Probably the most significant feature of the educational situation at the beginning of the school year was the fact that many thousands of children could not be provided for because of lack of funds. However, a supplementary budget was approved towards the end of October 1952, and it became possible to make provision for some 23,000 additional children during the school year. In addition, the transfer of many classes from tent classrooms to buildings of a fairly substantial nature was effected.
146. The salaries of the teachers, which had been low even in comparison with those of their colleagues in the schools of the host countries, were raised to a point where an approximate equation with the national salaries was established.
147. At the beginning of the school year, many teachers were called upon to administer very large classes, in some cases as high as 150 pupils. By May 1953, it had become possible, through various devices, to reduce the average number of children per teacher to nearly forty-seven.
148. As far as primary education is concerned, the UNRWA-UNESCO educational system, if it may be called such, now compares favourably, with regard to accommodation, teachers' salaries, teacher load and percentage of eligible children educated, with the schools of the host countries.
149. In the field of secondary education, it has been found possible to make provision for only comparatively few pupils.
150. With regard to university education, the grants to the American University of Beirut and St. Joseph's University were continued, making it possible for approximately ninety refugee students to attend these institutions. In Syria a project was initiated under which nearly 100 students were given partial assistance at the University of Syria.
151. In addition to many comparatively small projects in vocational training, plans were made to establish vocational training schools for boys in Jordan and Gaza, and a vocational school for girls in Jordan. It is hoped that all three schools will be operating during the school year 1953-1954.
152. To sum up, it may be fairly claimed that the school year 1952-1953 has been one of considerable educational progress, and it is expected that this progress will not only continue but will be considerably accelerated during the school year 1953-1954.
153. The Education Division of UNRWA is administered, through agreement with UNESCO, by a UNESCO appointee who is administratively responsible to the Director of UNRWA and technically responsible to the Director-General of UNESCO. He is assisted by a deputy, also appointed by UNESCO. With the exception of these officials and of the Field Training Officer in Jordan, who has international status, all other employees of the Education Division are Palestinians. In each area, under the UNRWA Country Representative, responsibility for educational activities is in the hands of the field education officers, field training officers or field education and training officers. Inspection of schools is carried on by education inspectors, of which there are fifteen in the whole field of operations. In June 1953, the number of teachers in service was 1,536.
3. PRIMARY EDUCATION
154. In September 1952, 52,776 pupils were registered in UNRWA-UNESCO schools. In addition, an estimated number of 57,681 pupils were reported as in attendance in private and government schools. By May 1953, the registration in UNRWA-UNESCO schools had increased by approximately 19,000 pupils, and that in government and private schools by approximately 1,500 pupils. The teaching staff, which had been 955 at the end of the school year 1951-1952, had increased to 1,536 in June 1953. For the school year 1953-1954, the Agency is making provision for nearly 95,000 children in its own schools. If the number of children in government and private schools remains constant, this will mean that 150,000 children will be receiving primary education.
155. It is quite impossible to determine the exact number of children of primary school age amongst the refugee population. The estimates of refugee children in attendance in private and government institutions are in many cases open to question. The Agency's estimate is that there are approximately 200,000 children of primary school age, which means that, if its plans work out, by September 1954 approximately 75 per cent of the eligible population will be receiving education in the primary division--a remarkably high percentage, according to educational statistics available in the Middle East. The same holds true if the number of children in attendance in primary schools is calculated as a percentage of the whole population.
156. It is hoped that, by the end of the school year 1953-1954, there will be no classes left in tent classrooms. It cannot be emphasized too strongly that this is a condition very much to be desired. Anyone who has visited classes in operation in tents, either during the summer or in winter, very quickly realizes the tremendous handicap under which both teachers and class work. The building of comparatively expensive classrooms is not advocated. It is to be hoped that, in the not too distant future, a solution will be found to the whole problem of the Palestinian refugee and, with such a hope, it would be most inadvisable to embark on a large and expensive programme of building educational accommodation which might have to be abandoned in a comparatively short time. At the same time, it is felt that teachers and pupils should not be condemned to continue working in tents. Classrooms built should be of the most austere type, but furnished with decent desks and with much more blackboard space than is possible in a tent classroom.
157. The growth of UNRWA-UNESCO schools is shown in table 1 at the end of the present section, and the distribution in table 2.
4. SECONDARY EDUCATION
158. As already pointed out, comparatively few refugee children were maintained in secondary classes. However, during the school year 1953-1954, it is planned to provide secondary education in government and private secondary schools and, in some cases, in UNRWA classes, for approximately 5,000 pupils.
159. It will not be possible to make secondary education available to all who wish to take advantage of it. It is hoped, however, over a four-year period, to provide facilities for secondary education for approximately 5 per cent of the registration in the primary schools.
5. UNIVERSITY EDUCATION
160. During the school year 1952-1953, grants-in-aid amounting to $12,000 were given to universities in Beirut and partial assistance was extended to nearly 100 students at the University of Syria.
161. There is under consideration for the school year 1953-1954 a project under which nearly 300 students will be assisted in universities in the Middle East. It is not proposed that the entire cost of education of these students should be guaranteed throughout their university courses. If, however, the quality of their work justifies their continuation at the university it is visualized that, for the academic year 1954-1955, further assistance will be provided.
6. FUNDAMENTAL EDUCATION
162. A literacy campaign, meeting with some measure of success, has been conducted during the year in Gaza.
163. In January 1953, a research project in fundamental education was begun in Dekwaneh Camp, Lebanon. The morale in this camp was particularly low and it was hoped through this experiment to engender a more hopeful attitude amongst the refugees. The experiment has now been in operation long enough to determine that the techniques employed are of considerable value and that the work should be extended to other camps.
164. A project aimed at training twenty Palestinians in the work of fundamental education is now under consideration and, should it be adopted and proved successful, will in all likelihood lead to the establishment of twenty centres in the four countries in which the work of UNRWA is carried on.
7. TEACHER TRAINING
165. A shortage of qualified teachers is a condition plaguing every country in the world today. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the so-called under-developed countries, including the Middle East. The Palestinian refugees have been particularly unfortunate in this respect since, following the exodus from Palestine in 1948, many qualified Palestinian teachers, face with lack of employment, accepted positions in countries other than those included in the sphere of operations of UNRWA and were not available when the Agency established its own schools. Out of the 1,536 teachers in the Agency schools in June, only 3 per cent had had professional training, and the academic back-ground ranged from five years' primary schooling to university graduation.
166. The Agency has used the facilities of the teacher-training institutions of the Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq to the fullest extent in trying to train as many young Palestinians as possible for the teaching profession, but these countries, faced by a great shortage of teachers for their own schools, with the best will in the world, were able to make comparatively few places available. The Agency had, therefore, to establish its own training facilities and these, of necessity, could be operated only during the summer vacations.
167. During the summer of 1952, training courses for 600 teachers were conducted at three points. In the summer of 1953, similar courses have been established in all four areas and will be attended by between 800 and 900 UNRWA-UNESCO teachers. The emphasis will be on practical work and the number of lectures will be kept to a minimum. At each centre classes will be established in which demonstration teaching will take place and discussion groups will be featured during the courses.
8. VOCATIONAL EDUCATION
168. It is not an easy matter to determine the type of vocational course to establish in this area. There is, in the Middle East, a considerable amount of unemployment and it is difficult for Palestinians to obtain employment. Under the circumstances, therefore, the Agency can educate only in the hope that in the not too distant future a solution will be found and that the refugee problem will cease to exist, so that the skills being taught will find a market.
169. A considerable number of small vocational training projects have been established and are in operation. UNRWA is now deliberately moving into a more ambitious vocational training scheme. The construction of a vocational training school for boys at Kalundia, Jordan, has nearly been completed and the school is expected to be in operation by September 1953. During the school year 1953-1954, it is also expected that a vocational training school for boys at Gaza, and one for girls in Jordan, will also be in operation.
170. A project has been approved for training 120 Palestinian boys in a private vocational school in the Lebanon, and it is planned to train nearly 200 young men and adults in vocational training schools in Syria.
171. To cope with the work of this expansion the appointment of a vocational training consultant at headquarters has been approved, and he is expected to begin work by the beginning of the school year.
172. When education was first approved for the refugees, some classes in hand-work, called pre-vocational classes, were established at various points. These classes had a welfare bias rather than an educational one and have all been discontinued. The students attending these classes have been or will be absorbed into the regular educational streams.
9. CO-OPERATION WITH GOVERNMENTS
173. The various government departments of the four countries concerned with the education of the refugees have worked, on the whole, very harmoniously with the Education Division and in many cases have been of great assistance. It is not, however, a particularly desirable situation for what are virtually autonomous bodies to be operating separate, though not necessarily competing, educational systems within the boundaries of the same country. The primary education of the citizen should be the concern of the government.
174. To make the transfer of control to a government a relatively simple matter, the UNRWA-UNESCO schools have been closely equated with the schools of the host countries with regard to curricula, textbooks, average registration per classroom, teachers' salaries, accommodation and conditions of inspection and administration.
10. LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
175. The Agency has agreed to provide, as far as possible, for the education of all pupils of elementary school age whose parents wish them to be educated. For various reasons, there is a much larger number of children seeking admission to the lowest elementary grade than the number leaving school before, or at the end of the highest elementary grade. Registration, therefore, must be expected to increase significantly over the next four years. For the school year 1953-1954 the estimated increase in registration is 23,000. This, however, includes several thousand older children who applied for admission so late in the school year that no provision could be made for them. They will be admitted in September, and special classes established whereby their progress through school will be accelerated. Unless a significant change takes place in the refugee situation, primary school registration will increase over the next four years by from 40,000 to 50,000, the increase scaling down from approximately 20,000 in the first year to 5,000 in the fourth.
176. For the school year 1953-1954 provision has been made in the budget to afford secondary education for 5,000 pupils.
177. To maintain an educational balance, a small percentage of the students completing their secondary school courses satisfactorily should be afforded the opportunity to train for the professions. It is proposed, if funds are made available, to provide university education for 300 students in 1953-1954. The number should be increased in subsequent years. Continuation of support at university level should be dependent upon satisfactory progress from year to year. It is not recommended that the Agency should finance the education of students at universities outside the Middle East.
GENERAL STATISTICS SHOWING DEVELOPMENT--UNRWA-UNESCO SCHOOLS,1950-1953
UNRWA- Number of Number of Number of
UNESCO boys in girls in Total teachers in Expenditure
schools attendance attendance attendance service on education
June 1950 .... 64
24,205 9,426 33,631 730 (Not known)
June 1951 .... 114 31,436 11,676 43,112 848 398,000 for 1950-51
June 1952 .... 126 35,044 12,739 47,783 955 595,000 for 1951-52
June 1953 ... 157 49,331 21,467 70,798 1,536 829,000 for 1952-53
At this time the twenty-two schools at Gaza were run by the American Friends Society.
DISTRIBUTION OF PALESTINE REFUGEE CHILDREN ATTENDING SCHOOLS AS AT MAY 1953
Estimated number of of total
Number of pupils inrefugee Estimated Total refugee refugee
UNRWA-UNESCO pupils in refugee estimated popula- popula- Number
Number Number schools govern- pupils in pupils tion tion of
ment private receiving (April receiving teaching
Country schools classes Boys Girls Total schools schools education 1953) education staff
Lebanon ....... 30 215 6,107 3,311 9,418
1,431 (1952-53) 8,697 19,546 102,704 19 200
Syria ........ 33 102 3,554 2,022 5,576 5,929 (1951-52) 4,838 16,343
85,715 19 139
Jordan ......... 64 622 19,958 10,247 30,205
20,508 (1951-52) 9,481 60,194 474,849 12.6 640
Gaza ....... 30 522 20,188 6,189 26,377 2,307 (1952-53) 984 29,668
207,629 14.2 548
TOTAL 157 1,461 49,807 21,769 71,576 30,175 24,000 125,751 870,897 14.4 1,527
Including 86 boys in first secondary class.
Including 650 students in government secondary classes, 317 students in private secondary schools, 107 at the University of Syria and 166 in secondary classes of UNRWA-UNESCO schools.
Including 1,077 refugee students in government secondary classes, 107 refugee students in private schools, 675 refugee students in secondary classes of UNRWA-UNESCO schools.
Including 87 boys in first and second secondary classes.
178. The Agency's Social Welfare Division, when it was formed, took over the welfare services originally started and run by the voluntary agencies during and immediately after the conflict in Palestine, and later the Division offered, from an administrative point of view, a convenient unit at headquarters in which to place responsibility for certain gradually developing activities which, although related to refugee welfare, were not, strictly speaking, welfare functions. Thus the Division, in addition to its true welfare function, covered registration, placement, the supplementary feeding programme, and the milk distribution programme. Steps have recently been taken, in line with the general reorganization of the Headquarters and Field Offices, to transfer to more appropriate divisions the functions not related to the social welfare of the refugees.
179. The present section of the report covers the following activities:
1. Social case work and individual care;
2. Operation of social welfare centres;
3. Training of social welfare workers;
4 Sponsorship of arts and crafts activities for girls and women;
5. Distribution of donated clothing;
6. Co-ordination of work with the voluntary agencies and other organizations;
7. Milk programme.
1. SOCIAL CASE WORK AND INDIVIDUAL CARE
180. Throughout the past year, there was continuous pressure both upon the time of the welfare workers and upon the limited funds at their disposal to give individual assistance to refugee families. Literally thousands of refugees applied to the Agency for entry into organized camps. Many of these applicants claimed that such funds as they had managed to bring out of Palestine with them were now exhausted and that they were no longer able to pay rent for private accommodation. Each of these cases had to be individually investigated for, owing to the limitations of the funds available for relief, only the most desperate could be accepted.
181. In addition, welfare workers did what they could to help the destitute and hard-core cases; advice and assistance were given to persons or groups who were in special need of aid; and to the extent possible within the financial limits of the welfare budget, the physically handicapped were given aid in the shape of artificial limbs, dentures, spectacles, etc.
182. In Gaza, the welfare workers helped the Egyptian authorities over the distribution of goods given by the people of Egypt to the refugees and local residents of the area, and transported by the "mercy trains" which carried thousands of tons of foodstuffs and household supplies to Gaza as a result of the personal appeal by General Naguib to the people of Egypt.
183. In addition to this generalized type of assistance, welfare workers directly aided destitute individuals and families as shown in the following table covering the past six months only (1 January 1953 to 30 June 1953):
Social Medical Delinquent Other
cases cases cases cases Totals
Lebanon ......... 87 5 5 40 137
Syria ........... 157 5 1 35 198
Jordan .......... 60 6 13 131 210
Gaza ............ 418 6 29 135 588
TOTALS 722 22 48 341 1,133
2. OPERATION OF SOCIAL WELFARE CENTRES
184. The Division operated a number of social welfare centres in the major refugee camps. These centres were organized mainly to provide recreational facilities, otherwise unavailable, designed to raise the morale of camp residents and, in particular, of those living in isolated camps where there was little chance of obtaining work and only the slightest contact with people other than their fellow refugees and UNRWA staff members. Recreation activities at these centres included the organization of sports groups, clubs for boys and men, public lectures, night classes, libraries, play centres for
children and film projection. Many of the activities were run by volunteers from amongst the refugees themselves. In certain areas, the refugees enjoyed the benefit of recreational facilities provided by the voluntary agencies. The recreational centres in Jordan received radio sets from American and British donors, which were greatly appreciated by the refugees. Camp libraries throughout the area were stocked by gifts from the voluntary agencies, the information services of various governments, and through the purchase of books by UNESCO gift coupons.
185. An example of the voluntary work performed by the refugees themselves in these centres occurred at Nairab Camp (Northern Syria), where instruction given free by the teachers of the UNRWA-UNESCO school at the camp in their own time enabled twenty-four young men to complete their preparation for the Government Certificate examination.
186. The following table shows the number of recreational centres and average attendances during the period.
Average of leaders
Number of daily paid
Country centres attendance volunteers
Lebanon ............. 7 507 1
Syria ................ 8 395 1
Jordan .............. 34 1,587 - 34
Gaza ............... 8 23,577 - 8
TOTALS 57 26,066 2 57
Paid by Pontifical Mission.
Paid by Lutheran World Federation.
3. TRAINING SOCIAL WELFARE WORKERS
187. To enable the Agency to respond to the demand for assistance of this kind, it was decided to provide training for a limited number of refugees who had displayed a special aptitude for social welfare work. With the co-operation of the Church Missionary Society, the Agency arranged for a training course at Zerka, in Jordan, where twenty-four refugees received short-term but intensive training in social welfare and in case work. The students at these courses were for the most part employees of the Social Welfare Division, although a number of refugees not previously in the employment of the Agency also received this training.
PONSORSHIP OF ARTS AND CRAFTS ACTIVITIES FOR GIRLS AND WOMEN
188. One of the activities which has done much to relieve the montony of camp life, particularly in Gaza, has been the operation, under the sponsorship of the Agency, of arts and crafts centres for women and girls. The former residents of the Majdal and Ramleh Area in Palestine, many of whom migrated to Gaza during and after the troubles, were known for their exquisite hand embroidery work. The Agency felt strongly that the natural talents and historical skills of these people should not be lost through disuse, and established embroidery centres in Gaza and Hebron with a modest allocation of funds. This development was welcomed by the refugees. In addition to embroidery, refugee girls and young women were put to work sewing layettes, hospital linen and garments for infants under the care of the Health Division. Unfortunately, shortage of money has led to the closing of a number of these centres during the past year. However, in several places where this has taken place, refugee women and UNRWA field welfare staff members volunteered to run them in their free time; and in Hebron (Jordan), one of the milk supervisors who knew how to operate a hand loom volunteered in his free time to teach five young people the craft of hand weaving on looms provided by the Education Division.
189. The sale of embroidery, rugs and other articles produced in these centres continued during the year, mainly in the countries of the Middle East, since the Customs duties payable in the United States, the United Kingdom and the European countries are so high that the cost of the goods becomes prohibitive. Over $14,000 was paid into the general fund of the Agency from the sales made in all countries during the year under review.
190. In September 1952, the Chamber of Commerce of Amman organized an agricultural and industrial exhibition in the Islamic College, where the Welfare Division in Jordan exhibited works of the UNRWA arts and crafts centres. The exhibition was a great success. In Lebanon, displays of refugee works and embroidery and rugs were arranged in bazaars and fairs organized by different voluntary agencies, including the Women's Auxiliary of UNRWA. The following table shows the position of the arts and crafts centres as of 30 June 1953.
Number of Number of Number of
Country apprentices centres instructors
Lebanon ........................ 130 13 13
Syria .......................... 154 6 6
Jordan ......................... 303 10 10
Gaza ........................... 472 7 9
TOTALS 1,059 36 38
ISTRIBUTION OF DONATED CLOTHING
191. The Agency has never been financially in a position to provide clothing for the refugees apart from layettes for new-born babies, and pajamas and bathrobes for refugees in hospitals. The refugees have, therefore, had to rely almost entirely upon voluntary donations of clothing from abroad to meet their needs. Although these donations have been large, they have not been enough to provide the protection required in the colder regions of Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. Fortunately, the stockpiling of clothing last year by
the voluntary agencies before the winter season started enabled field welfare workers, with the assistance of the agencies, to cope with the situation during the cold winter months.
192. The donation of two million garments from the Women's Voluntary Services in England in June 1953 was most welcome, for, added to other contributions which were received at approximately the same period, it will make it possible to distribute approximately two garments to each refugee inscribed on the ration rolls. This distribution, which will take place early in the autumn of 1953, will involve a great deal of work, and the Agency has been glad to accept the offer of assistance by the voluntary societies, who have
undertaken to distribute garments to refugees residing outside the camps, while the Agency will distribute to those in the camps.
193. A considerable quantity of layettes was received from the Canadian Red Cross Society and from other organizations during the year, and was issued to welfare officers in the four countries for the use of refugees.
194. The following table lists the donors whose donations exceed one ton, and the total quantities of clothes and shoes donated to or through UNRWA for
distribution to refugees, received during the year under review (the WVS donation will not reach the area until the next fiscal period):
Donors (Kgs.) (Kgs.)
1. American Friends Service Com-
mittee ........................... 3,372 731
2. American Middle East Relief ...... 11,452 817
3. Arabian-American Oil Company 3,404 4,525
4. British Red Cross Society ........ 45,680 -
5. Church Missionary Society ........ 9,176 304
6. Church World Services ............ 241,858 27,714
7. Council of Organizations for Re-
lief Services Overseas, New
Zealand .......................... 3,485 -
8. Danish Red Cross Society ......... 28,875 3,165
9. Home of Onesiphorus, Chicago 1,000 -
10. Mennonite Central Committee ...... 50,122 5,054
11. Pontifical Mission ............... 77,357 483
12. Save the Children Fund ........... 23,280 2,637
13. Society of Friends, Edinburgh .... 2,790 759
14. Society of Friends, London ....... 3,892 38
15. Swedish Red Cross Society ........ 1,356 151
16. United Nations International Chil-
dren's Emergency Fund ............ 11,396 -
17. Union Arabe, Chile ............... 3,400 -
18. United Church of Canada Com-
mittee on Overseas Relief ........ 27,849 4,771
19. War Relief Services, USA .......... 237,184 40,417
20. World Relief Commission .......... 3,480 -
21. Young Men's Christian Associa-
tion (Stockholm and Switzerland) 14,697 1,480
22. Others ........................... 2,955 -
O-ORDINATION OF WORK WITH THE VOLUNTARY AGENCIES AND OTHER ORGANIZATIONS
195. The relief work undertaken by the voluntary agencies for the benefit of the Palestine Arab refugees during the past year was of immense assistance, for which UNRWA offers its grateful acknowledgement. The Agency helped by paying ocean and inland freight for their relief supplies, clearing goods through Customs and providing transport facilities. Close relations were maintained with the Executive Secretary of the Near East Christian Council Committee, whose success in co-ordinating the work of the different voluntary agencies was outstanding.
196. Largely through the efforts of its Executive Secretary, the General Co-ordinating Committee established to bring the representatives of all the voluntary organizations together to discuss their problems and the needs of the refugees proved an effective means of avoiding duplication and overlapping of the work of their teams helping the refugees in the different countries. A sub-committee for the distribution of clothing (Central Co-ordinating Committee on Clothing Distribution) was formed to advise on the allocation and distribution of clothing.
197. In addition to their educational, medical and other services, the voluntary agencies helped a number of refugees to become self-supporting by giving them small loans for travel or by aiding individuals to set up in trade or business; and their orphanages have accepted a number of refugee orphans and are sheltering and educating them. The voluntary agencies also helped the "economic" refugees in the frontier villages of Jordan whose conditions are desperate.
198. During the past year the Lutheran World Federation started work in Syria on an extensive scale. It opened a clinic in Damascus, distributed large quantities of clothing and helped in individual and group social case work. In Jordan, the Mennonites appointed a special team to work in the Hebron area, where they opened and operated two centres for the reconstitution and distribution of milk, which serve both the refugees and the "economic" refugees in the area.
199. An encouraging sign was the appearance of certain new local societies in the different countries which helped by contributing clothing, social services
and financial help for the refugees.
200. The following is a list of the principal voluntary agencies which participated in the field relief work during the year under review:
1. American Friends Mission, Ramallah;
2. Angelican Bishopric of Jerusalem;
3. Arab Evengelical Episcopal Community;
4. Arab Women's League. Nablus;
5. Berachah Tuberculosis Sanatorium;
6. Church Missionary Society;
7. Church Missionary Society Refugee Relief Centre in Zerka;
8. Committee for the Relief of Orthodox Refugees, Lebanon;
9. Congregational Christian Service Committee;
10. Dar El Tifl, Jerusalem:
11. Greek Orthodox Church (Jerusalem Patriarchate);
12. International Christian Committee;
13. Joint Christian Committee;
14. Lutheran World Federation;
15. Mennonite Central Committee;
16. Middle East Relief Association;
17. Near East Christian Committee;
18. Refugee Girls' Home, Jerusalem;
19. Orthodox Home for Invalids, Beit-Djala, Jordan;
20. Pontifical Mission;
21. Save the Children Fund;
22. Social Nucleus, Beirut;
23. Syria-Lebanon Mission Presbyterian Church of USA;
24. Syrian Refugee Committee;
25. UNRWA Women's Auxiliary;
26. Young Men's Christian Association;
27. Young Women's Christian Association.
7. MILK PROGRAMME
201. Until November 1952, UNICEF provided for all the refugees' milk requirements, but early in the year the fund advised UNRWA that it would be unable to continue this contribution. As a consequence, special provision had to be made in the relief budget for the purchase of milk, in addition to the funds previously set aside for the reconstitution and distribution of all milk (including that purchased by UNICEF) issued to the refugees. Fortunately, the Agency was able, with the assistance of UNICEF, to purchase a large quantity of powdered milk at a very low price.
202. In order to ensure as far as possible that the milk is drunk by the people for whom it is intended, it was decided to continue issuing it in liquid form, rather than as powder along with the basic rations, even though this latter procedure would have enabled the Agency to reduce its administrative costs.
203. Milk reconstitution and distribution was carried out in certain areas under most trying conditions owing to the winter storms and to the poor accommodation in certain camps. However, a number of milk centres were transferred during the year to pre-fabricated huts (Gaza), or into rooms specially constructed for this purpose (in Jordan).
204. The numbers of beneficiaries of the milk programme as of 30 June 1953 are given in the following table:
Number of Number of daily
Country centres workers beneficiaries
Lebanon ....................... 106 158 51,015
Syria ......................... 31 76 45,065
Jordan ........................ 178 470 179,749
Gaza .......................... 30 197 53,102
TOTALS 345 901 328,931
VI. Co-operation with other United Nations organizations
205. Throughout the year, the Agency has continued to collaborate closely with the specialized agencies of the United Nations and with UNICEF. Details of the manner in which this collaboration has been effected are given below. The Agency takes this opportunity of expressing its appreciation of the assistance and advice which it has thus received. It is sincerely hoped that this fruitful co-operation will be continued and, indeed, encouraged in the future.
206. UNICEF has contributed the following quantities of supplies toward the relief of Palestine refugees:
Commodity (Tons) $
Currants ................................ 113 26,000
Fats .................................... 619 290,810
Milk powder ............................. 2,503 1,010,858
Rice .................................... 2,341 405,172
Polish rye .............................. 100 22,700
Soap .................................... 3 1/2 33,640
Sugar ................................... 2,176 263,175
Clothing ................................ - 5,698
Hut construction ........................ - 46,052
Medical supplies ........................ - 21,342
207. The milk powder was sufficient to provide the requirements of the milk distribution programme up to the beginning of November 1952. After that date, UNRWA continued to purchase the necessary quantities of milk powder to continue this programme, which forms an important part of the refugees' diet.
208. Throughout the year, the UNICEF Regional Representative for the Middle East continued to be provided with office space and administrative facilities at UNRWA headquarters in Beirut. In Egypt, the services of UNRWA staff in Cairo and Alexandria were also extended to UNICEF for matters connected with the shipping and clearance of supplies.
209. Just before the beginning of the year under review, the Agency was informed that the Fifth World Health Assembly, at its ninth preliminary meeting, had adopted a resolution authorizing the Director-General to extend the duration of the agreement between WHO and UNRWA until 30 June 1953, or until the dissolution of the Agency if this should take place sooner; and an exchange of letters between the two organizations acknowledged this extension of the agreement, which had been concluded originally on 29 September 1950.
210. In May 1953, the Sixth World Health Assembly authorized the Director General further to extend the duration of the agreement until 30 June 1954.
211. WHO again made a contribution to the Agency of approximately $43,000, as well as providing a chief of the UNRWA Health Division and two other staff members for the technical supervision of the Agency's health programme.
212. The Director-General of WHO, Dr. Brock Chisholm, paid a visit to the area in April 1953, accompanied by the Regional Director, WHO Eastern Mediterranean Area, and inspected the results of the health programme for refugees in Lebanon and Jordan.
213. Towards the end of the 1952-1953 correspondence took place between the two agencies on the subject of the health education scheme for which a draft agreement was being prepared.
3. UNITED NATIONS EDUCATIONAL SCIENTIFIC AND CULTURAL ORGANIZATION
214. On 21 August 1952, a general working agreement was concluded between UNESCO and UNRWA to cover co-operation between the two organizations during the calendar year 1952. UNESCO undertook as in the past to contribute the sum of $70,000 towards the cost of the education programme for Arab refugees, and to appoint and pay the salaries of two education officers to take charge of the technical execution of the programme.
215. UNESCO also made arrangements for donations in the form of gift coupons to the UNRWA-UNESCO schools, amounting to $8,879 for the year under review, which come from the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands and Portuguese East Africa. The Swedish National Commission for UNESCO sent a special contribution in kind--school equipment--worth $10,000; and American teachers sent reference books for the teachers' seminars, which were held during the year to improve the standard of teaching in refugee schools.
216. Under a special agreement concluded between UNESCO and UNRWA for a programme of technical assistance for training and re-training of children, youths and adults among the Palestine refugees, a UNESCO technical assistance mission to UNRWA commenced operating in 1952-1953. It comprises a fundamental and adult education specialist, a vocational training specialist, a visual aid specialist and a camera-man. UNESCO's contribution towards the cost of the team amounted to $50,000. The mission, reduced to three specialists and with a budget of $35,000, has been renewed for 1954.
217. At the end of March, the Agency was informed that the General Conference of UNESCO, at its seventh session, had authorized the Director-General to continue, in collaboration with UNRWA, to provide assistance for Palestine refugees in the Middle East. The Conference also appropriated the sum of $90,000 for the calendar year 1953 as a contribution towards UNRWA's expenditure on education. As in the past, this sum included the salaries of the two UNESCO field officers in charge of the execution of the pro-
gramme, so that the actual cash transfer would amount to approximately $70,000 per annum.
218. The working agreement was prolonged by an exchange of letters between the two organizations during March and April 1953 to cover the calendar
4. INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANISATION
219. A basic agreement between ILO and UNRWA for the provision of technical assistance was signed at the end of 1952, as well as a supplementary agreement, under which the ILO undertook to provide one vocational training expert for a period of one year to act as advisor to the principal of the vocational training centre for refugees at Kalundia, and three vocational training experts for a period of one year each to act as workshop supervisor instructors at the same centre. In addition, four fellowships for study abroad
for three months in building trades, metal working and electrical trades, vocational education and school administration were to be provided for staff members of the centre.
220. Between May and August 1952, ILO lent an expert to undertake studies in the area with a view to the possible development of handicrafts and cottage
industries among the refugee population.
5. FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION
221. The senior supervisory officer of the Nutrition Division of FAO, accompanied by the nutrition and home economics officer of the FAO Regional Office for the Near East, visited the Agency in February 1953 in order to advise on nutritional problems. This visit was in the nature of a follow-up visit for nutritional surveys made in conjunction with WHO in 1950 and 1951; and it resulted in the adoption by the Agency of several valuable suggestions on supplementary feeding.
222. FAO has also assisted the Agency over the recruitment of a nutritionist.
223. During January 1973, the Agency was able to assist FAO in providing interpreters for the FAO Near East regional Extension Development Centre
which met in Beirut.
224. An FAO regional meeting was held in Amman in December 1952 to consider the creation of a forestry commission for the Near East; the Agency's agricultural adviser attended this meeting as an observer.
225. Two UNRWA trainees attended the Co-operative Training Centre held in Nicosia, Cyprus, from 1 September to 30 November 1952. The purpose of the course was to study co-operative law and practice, various types of societies, co-operative accounting and management, and banking, supervision and audit.
6. TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE BOARD
226. From 1 June 1952, UNRWA has continued to fulfil a previously agreed commitment to provide office space, secretarial assistance and administrative services to the TAB Liaison Office in the Near East. This has, however, decreased gradually since September 1952, when the administrative secretary was transferred from UNRWA to the TAB payroll. The professional assistant, on loan from UNRWA, was withdrawn in February 1953 and replaced by an officer, directly engaged and paid for by TAB. The scale of administrative services hitherto provided by UNRWA has been further reduced by a TAB undertaking to pay the salaries of the chauffeur and local secretarial staff, as well as the costs of internal travel, all effective from the end of the fiscal year, although UNRWA has agreed to continue the provisions of certain other administrative services common to both organizations.
227. The procurement of the services of experts, required for UNRWA projects, from ILO and UNESCO has been carried out in close co-operation with the TAB Liaison Office in the Near East.
7. UNITED NATIONS TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE ADMINISTRATION
228. UNTAA has appointed a regional adviser on social welfare, an assistant adviser and a regional representative in the field of social defence, all of whom are provided with administrative facilities at UNRWA headquarters.
229. In addition to his other work, the adviser organized the third United Nations Social Welfare Seminar for Arab States held in Beirut. UNRWA and other United Nations agencies were represented by observers.
VII. Legal aspects of the work of the Agency
230. The juridical personality of the Agency, a subsidiary organ of the United Nations, derives from the United Nations Charter and, in particular, from the United Nations Convention on Privileges and Immunities, and it is these two documents which determine the Agency's legal position and govern its relations with other parties.
231. In the subsequent paragraphs, the Agency's main legal activities during the period under review have been grouped under the following three general headings:
1. Matters of non-commercial nature arising out of the application or non-application of the United Nations Convention on Privileges and Immunities;
2. Claims against governments arising out of failure to refund excise and other taxes;
3. Matters of a strictly legal nature arising out of commercial contractual relationships with other parties.
1. MATTERS OF A ON-COMMERCIAL NATURE ARISING OUT OF THE APPLICATION OR NON-APPLICATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES
232. Lebanon is a Member of the United Nations and has acceded to the Convention. No bilateral agreement between Lebanon and UNRWA so far exists. Agency operations have been based on the agreement concluded between the late United Nations Mediator and the Lebanese Government in 1948, and on the Convention. Difficulties which the Agency has encountered derive principally from the fact that ministries and subordinate government departments, with which the Agency has to deal, do not appear to be familiar with the Convention and its implications, and it has been necessary on various occasions to obtain the assistance of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
There remain a number of questions which have not yet been satisfactorily settled. For example: (i) Labour tribunals attached to the Ministry of National Economy have on two occasions pronounced judgments in default against the Agency for payment of terminal indemnities to former staff members. The judgments were served on the Agency through the Foreign Office. They were not accepted and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs was requested to advise all competent Lebanese departments of the legal position of the Agency, and its immunity under the Convention.
(ii) The Ministry of Finance, early in 1953, took steps to assess income tax on the salaries of UNRWA area staff employed in Lebanon. The Agency claimed exemption, and in due course the Ministry of Finance accepted the Agency's point of view.
(iii) The Lebanese Government, after some discussions, agreed with the Agency's claim that UNRWA bank deposits were not liable to income tax. It should be mentioned, however, that, in granting this exemption, the Ministry of Finance relied on article 63 (iv) of the Law on Income Tax, which exempts, [i:inter alia,] charitable institutes from income tax, and not on the Convention.
(iv) The Lebanese Government has now agreed to the Agency's request that UNRWA vehicles should be accorded the treatment applied to the vehicles of foreign legations accredited to Lebanon as regards the reduction of Customs duties when sold.
(v) The Lebanese Government, on the other hand, continues to impose landing charges on the United Nations planes.
(vi) The Lebanese Government has refused to refund excise duties on kerosene, aviation fuel, alcohol and cement.
233. Syria is a Member of the United Nations, but has not yet formally deposited its instrument of accession to the Convention. No bilateral agreements as yet exist between the Agency and the Syrian Government, although negotiations are continuing.
234. The Agency's operations in Syria have hitherto been based on the agreement concluded with the late United Nations Mediator in 1948 and to a certain extent on the Convention. As pointed out in last year's report, the Syrian Council of Ministers in decree No. 431 of 17 September 1948 determined that the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations should be treated as enforceable in Syria, pending accession by the government.
235. Generally, it may be said that the terms of the Convention have been applied in regard to UNRWA, save in one or two rather important matters. Neither the decree quoted above nor the recognition by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the immunity of the Agency has been accepted by the courts as binding. Several attempts have been made to regularize the position, and in May 1952 the Ministry of Justice addressed a [i:communiqué] to the Attorney-General advising him that UNRWA as "part of the Secretariat of the United Nations" enjoyed judicial immunity and calling upon him "to notify all courts and judicial departments not to entertain the actions which may be instituted against UNRWA". The [i:communiqué] stated further that "the execution of civil judgments delivered by Syrian courts in favour of Palestinian refugees for compensation on dismissal shall be stayed temporarily
until a legal solution is arrived at in respect thereof". Despite this [i:communiqué,] Syrian tribunals have continued to entertain actions and to pronounce judgments against the Agency. The execution of judgments, however, has been stayed.
236. In any accident in which UNRWA vehicles are involved, the vehicle in question is seized and is not released until an adequate guarantee has been submitted to the court.
237. Education and income taxes on the interest earned by UNRWA bank deposits in Syria have been charged and collected despite frequent representations by the Agency claiming exemption. On 26 July 1953, the Agency was informed in writing by the Director of the Palestine Arab Refugee Institution that the Ministry of Finance was of the opinion that the legislative regulations in force in Syria did not permit such exemption.
238. UNRWA funds attached in 1952 by order of court in satisfaction of judgments for terminal indemnities have not as yet been released.
239. The importation of relief supplies is regulated by Legislative Decree No. 161, enacted on 17 November 1952. Article 1 reads:
"Are exempt from all taxes, finance and municipal fees (including Customs dues), the products which have been imported or shall be imported through international organizations depending from the United Nations Organization, or through the Syrian Government or other governments or recognized institutions, to be distributed among Palestinian Arab refugees by way of relief or to be consumed for their benefit."
240. Although the terms of this decree appear to be exhaustive, difficulties have been encountered arising out of the restrictive interpretation applied by the Customs authorities. For example, Customs authorities have held that certain kinds of office supplies imported by the Agency could not be admitted free of duty on the grounds that their use was not for the direct benefit of the refugees. It is difficult to reconcile this argument with the terms of the decree, and the Agency has requested that it should be revised or amended.
241. The Syrian Government has not agreed so far to refund excise and municipal taxes on fuel.
242. The Agency's operations in Jordan have been governed by an agreement concluded with the Jordanian Government on 16 March 1951. Unfortunately, reference to the Convention was incorporated in terms which have given rise to differences of opinion regarding its application.
243. For example, the Jordanian Government has not accepted the Agency's claim for judicial immunity for itself and for its staff in civil as well as criminal matters.
244. Difficulties have also arisen concerning the degree of control the Government could exercise over the appointment and termination of Agency staff. The Agency has taken the stand that appointments and terminations are matters solely for the Director, although the views of the Government would naturally receive serious consideration.
245. The Government has indicated its desire to revise its agreement with the Agency.
246. Egypt is a Member of the United Nations and has acceded to the Convention. In one instance, where a former UNRWA employee sought to bring proceedings against the Agency for terminal indemnity under the Egyptian Labour Code, the Egyptian Government took energetic measures to advise the competent judicial bodies that such actions could not be entertained in view of the Agency's judicial immunity.
247. The applicability of the Convention to the Gaza area was the subject of discussions with the Egyptian Government, arising out of a decision by the Gaza Administration to charge income tax to all UNRWA personnel working in Gaza. In the initial stage, the Egyptian Government took the view that the Convention did not apply in Gaza, inasmuch as Gaza had not been annexed to Egypt, and was militarily occupied territory with its own administration. After discussion, the Government agreed to extend the application of
the Convention to the Gaza area and to exempt from income tax (as of 30 April 1953) all employees paid by the month. This decision has been communicated to the Gaza authorities, who have temporarily withheld implementation pending clarification of some points. It is expected that the decision will be implemented in full in the near future.
2. CLAIMS AGAINST GOVERNMENTS ARISING OUT OF FAILURE TO REFUND EXCISE AND OTHER TAXES
248. The Agency's outstanding claims against the Jordanian, Lebanese and Syrian Governments may be grouped under two headings:
(i) Claims for refund of excess rail charges;
(ii) Claims for refund of excise and municipal taxes on such commodities as kerosene, aviation fuel, alcohol, cement, etc.
Excess rail charges
249. When UNRWA assumed responsibility for the administration of the relief programme, the Lebanese, Syrian, and Jordanian Governments expressed their desire that the Agency should ship its relief supplies by rail. The cost of transport by rail is approximately 25 per cent higher than the cost of transport by road. Following representations by the Agency, the Jordanian Government negotiated bilateral agreements with Syria and Lebanon concerning the shipment of relief supplies. The agreements permitted the transportation of all relief supplies by road with the exception of sugar, wheat and their derivatives, and provided further for a reduction in rail charges to a figure comparable with the cost of transport by road.
250. The railway companies in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan have, however, charged the Agency full rates without making any allowance for the reduction provided for in these agreements. Consequently, the Agency has had to claim a refund from the respective Governments. One such refund was made by the Jordanian Government soon after the agreements went into effect, but no other payments have since been received from any of the Governments concerned.
251. The Agency's claim against the Lebanese Government amounts to $11,044.06. There has been no intimation from the Government that this claim will be met.
Excise and municipal taxes
252. The major item under this heading is in regard to kerosene. The Ministry of Finance has on more than one occasion refused to refund excise and municipal taxes on kerosene despite the fact that kerosene is used exclusively by refugees. Similarly, the Agency's request for the refund of taxes on aviation fuel consumed by the United States plane, on alcohol used for medical purposes in the relief programme, and on cement used for the construction of refugee installations, has been refused by the said Ministry. As of 30 June 1953, the following amounts were claimed:
Excise and municipal taxes on fuel ................. 59,615.16
Tax on aviation fuel ............................... 17,597.28
Tax on alcohol ..................................... 1,950.96
Tax on cement ...................................... 494.37
253. A legal opinion drawn up at United Nations Headquarters, which confirms the Agency's stand, has been communicated to the Lebanese Government, and it is hoped that the question will in the near future be reconsidered and a favourable decision given.
254. As of 30 June 1953, the following amounts were claimed from the Syrian Government:
Excess rail charges ................................ 20,763.39
Excise and municipal taxes on fuel ................. 25,734.07
Customs duty on fuel ............................... 9,476.29
255. The Syrian Government has, in the past, allowed a refund of Customs duty on fuel.
3. MATTERS OF A STRICTLY LEGAL NATURE ARISING OUT OF COMMERCIAL CONTRACTUAL RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHER PARTIES
256. No special difficulties have been encountered in regard to the settlement of disputes arising out of commercial transactions. The Agency has agreed to refer such disputes to arbitration. A satisfactory procedure to govern arbitration proceedings has been formulated and implemented in conformity with local legislation and United Nations practice. The judicial immunity of the Agency has, however, been questioned in Jordan and in Syria. In the instance when the question arose in Jordan, the other parties to the contract agreed to arbitration. Consequently, the matter has not been tested before the courts. Syrian courts, on the other hand, have entertained actions against the Agency.
ONTACT WITH THE
EPARTMENT OF THE
SECRETARIAT AT U
257. Close contact has been kept throughout with the Legal Department at United Nations Headquarters in New York, which, whenever consulted, has furnished valuable advice and guidance.