Question of Palestine home
30 June 1954
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 1953 to 30 June 1954
OFFICIAL RECORDS: NINTH SESSION
SUPPLEMENT No. 17 (A/2717)
New York, 1954
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.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. THE AGENCY'S MISSION
II. THE PROVISION OF RELIEF
) Registration and numbers ................ 2
) Rations............................ 2
) Shelter .................. ........ 2
) Health ...................... ..... 2
) Welfare ........................... 3
) Clothing ......................... 3
) Cost of relief ....................... 3
III. THE REHABILITATION PROGRAMME
IV. EDUCATION AND TRAINING POLICY
V. THE POSITION OF THE AGENCY
) Finances.......................... 5
) Organization ..................... 5
) The future........................ 5
. Number of refugees and rations distributed............... 7
. Distribution of refugees according to age,
sex and country of residence as at 30 June 1954.................... 7
B. Financial operations............................................ 7
C. Rehabilitation.................................................. 9
D. Education and training.......................................... 18
E. Health......................................................... 23
F. Welfare........................................................ 27
G. Legal aspects of the work of the Agency........................ 30
H. Co-operation with other United Nations organizations .......... 33
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 fourth of the series, covers the period from 1 July 1953 to 30 June 1954.
2. As of 15 June 1954, Mr. Henry R. Labouisse was appointed Director of the Agency, in succession to Mr. John B. Blandford, Jr., who resigned on 7 March 1953. During the intervening period, the work was directed by Mr. Leslie J. Carver, the Deputy Director of the Agency.
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 reports of the Director of the Agency, to the special reports of the Director and Advisory Commission to the General Assembly and to other United Nations documents.
4. The present report consists of a general section and a series of annexes dealing in more detail with the different functional activities.
I. THE AGENCY'S MISSION
5. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency was established by resolution 302 (IV) adopted by the General Assembly on 8 December 1949. Its stated functions were, first, to carry out, in collaboration with local Governments, a programme of relief and works for the benefit of Palestine refugees in the Near East; and, secondly, to consult with those Governments concerning measures to be taken by them preparatory to the time when international assistance for relief and works projects would no longer be available.
6. The relief programme involved in the main the free provision of food for about 950,000 persons and of shelter, at first mostly in tents, for about a third of them. The works projects were based on those recommended by the United Nations Economic Survey Mission for the Middle East in the autumn of 1949 and consisted mainly of road-building, afforestation and miscellaneous small constructional works.
7. For a variety of reasons, the works projects were not successful. Furthermore, they did not permanently remove refugees from dependence on relief any more than did the small trading that had sprung up in camps or the seasonal and casual employment that many refugees had found. In resolution
, adopted on 2 December 1950, the General Assembly therefore considered that, without prejudice to the provisions of previous resolutions concerning repatriation or compensation, "the reintegration of the refugees into the economic life of the Near East, either by repatriation or resettlement, is essential for the time when international assistance is no longer available, and for the realization of conditions of peace and stability in the area . . .". The emphasis thus placed on works leading to rehabilitation rather than to the provision of temporary employment was further ndorsed when, on 26 January 1952, the General Assembly in resolution
approved a new programme to guide the work of the Agency over a period of approximately three years ending 30 June 1954 (this period was extended for one more year by action of the General Assembly at its eighth session).
8. The general objective of that programme was to move refugees from ration lines to self-supporting employment, and to make them economic assets of the Near Eastern countries. As it was formulated, refugees were to be helped to find employment; they were to receive loans and training; houses were to be built; and agricultural lands developed. The programme was intended to set a target for the termination of relief operations and was not to intrude into political issues between the Arab States and Israel or between the
refugees and Israel; in particular, it was to be without prejudice to repatriation or compensation referred to in previous resolutions. It was assumed that Governments would co-operate with the programme, which would become an integral part of the economic development of the host countries. To support the programme, a rehabilitation fund of $200 million was established (though it was recognized that considerable additional expenditures from other sources would be necessary to support the general economic development), and budgetary provision was made for a continuation of relief. Efforts were to be made to arrange for the transfer of the administration both of relief and of rehabilitation to the host Governments at the earliest possible date.
II. THE PROVISION OF RELIEF
9. For the various reasons touched upon in the present report, it has not proved possible to eliminate, or in fact to effect any significant reduction in, the relief operations and budget of the Agency. The care and maintenance of refugees has remained a basic and vitally important function. Moreover, as the longer-term requirement for relief became more and more apparent, it proved necessary and desirable for the Agency to make gradual improvements in the type and standards of the services it provided.
) REGISTRATION AND NUMBERS
10. The criteria for accepting refugees on the relief rolls were that they should be genuine refugees who had lived in Palestine for two years or more prior to the beginning of the conflict in 1948 and had lost their homes and livelihood as a result of that conflict. Additions to the rolls have been and are made to include new births and, under certain conditions, those persons who have suffered loss of income. The most important reasons for deletions of names from the rolls are death, emigration and the earning of income sufficient for self-support.
11. There are undoubtedly numerous improper registrations. It has proved difficult and in some cases impossible for the Agency to develop a satisfactory system for assuring deletions from the rolls of all persons not entitled to rations or other assistance from the Agency. The Agency is continuing its efforts, both with the host Governments and with the refugees, to develop a workable and adequate system which will protect the legitimate interests of all concerned. It has not yet been possible to make it clear to the refugees who are entitled to assistance, and to those Governments where doubt remains, that the purpose in mind is to ensure the best use of the available funds and that it is the refugees only who suffer from improper or false registrations.
12. Table 1 of annex A to the present report shows the number of refugees registered with the Agency. Of the total, more than a half (that is, 487,000) live in Jordan; of those, 271,000 live in West Jordan, an area of the former mandated territory of Palestine incorporated into Jordan in 1949, and nearly a quarter live in the Gaza strip, the area formerly mandated that is under Egyptian military government. Table 2 of annex A shows the ages of the refugees; approximately half those registered with the Agency are less than 15 years of age. It should here be emphasized that the considerable rate of natural increase is an important reason for the intractable nature of the problem facing the Agency. It should be noted that the local populations, not counting the refugees registered with the Agency, number in Lebanon about 1,346,000, in Syria about 3,795,000, in Jordan about 880,000 (of which more than half live in West Jordan) and in Gaza about 100,000.
13. With the exception noted in the following paragraph, there has been no change in the basic food ration, which provides about 1,600 calories in winter and 1,500 in summer.
14. The relief budget for the year under review, approved by the General Assembly at its eighth session, made possible the provision of full rations to certain groups (including children from one to seven years old) which had previously received only half rations.
15. In addition to providing the basic dry ration to refugees in general and to providing supplementary meals whose distribution had been increased and composition improved during the previous fiscal period, the Agency gives to children under one year old (who do not receive the basic ration) 1,200 grammes of whole milk, and to children from one to fifteen years and to pregnant and nursing women, 1,040 grammes of skim milk daily. The great majority of refugees supplement their dry ration with meat, fruit, vegetables, eggs, etc., either grown by themselves or exchanged for part of their rations or bought with their small and irregular earnings. Nevertheless, nutrition experts from the World Health Organization and the Food and Agricultural Organization have drawn attention to increasing signs of under-nourishment among certain groups of children.
16. Approximately the same proportion of refugees (about one-third) lived in camps during the period under review as previously. The budget approved by the General Assembly at its eighth session made it possible, however, to provide for an increase and improvement in camp accommodation in Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. Since the Assembly meets during the latter part of the calendar year (towards the middle of the Agency's fiscal year), action could only be taken during 1954. The construction of new camp accommodation is now under way. It should be completed in Gaza by the autumn of the present year; but the extension planned in the other countries will not have been achieved until the spring of 1955 at the earliest. The cost in all countries is being carried forward into the Agency's budget for 1954-1955.
17. In spite of this delay, by March 1954 only 32 per cent of the camp population was housed in tents, whereas the proportion had been 39 per cent in February 1953 and 87 per cent in March 1951. Many refugee camps are thus increasingly taking on the appearance of villages and towns, with school buildings, small workshops and communal facilities such as bath houses and recreational centres, as well as small shops opened by enterprising refugees.
18. Even though living conditions have thus been improved for a large number of refugees, there is still a very substantial proportion whose living conditions are far from adequate. This is in part due to the unwillingness of some of the refugees to accept anything but the most temporary and transient type of accommodation, presumably because they have been led to believe that an improvement in their living conditions would somehow prejudice their chances of eventual repatriation. It is in part due also to the fact that the Agency has been unable, both because of shortage of funds and because of the unavailability of suitable sites, to provide accommodations in camps for many refugees who need them.
19. The Agency's health services, of which a full account will be found in annex E to the present report, have continued fundamentally unchanged save for improvements dictated by experience or brought about by improved training.
20. During the period under review, the health education of the refugee public and the control of insects have been given special attention. Special training has been started for health educators, who will work as members of health teams comprising representatives of the other social services. The insect control programme also acts as one method of health education, as well as fulfilling its major purpose -- to prevent insect-borne diseases. An important anti-malaria campaign has been initiated in the Jordan Valley as a measure preparatory to the Yarmuk-Jordan Valley development project.
21. Although the Agency's health programme in the circumstances has been remarkable, there are certain important needs still to be met. For example, there is a shortage of trained medical and health staff of all sorts; pit latrines in the camps must be replaced by septic latrines; the almost complete lack of tuberculosis hospital beds for refugees in Jordan must be overcome, and adequate buildings erected for the existing tented tuberculosis hospital in Lebanon.
22. A description of the Agency's welfare services is contained in annex F below. These services fill needs that are not met by the normal routine programmes.
23. The Agency's Welfare Division is the point of contact with the very important group of voluntary agencies whose activities, supplementing those of the Agency as a whole, mean so much in the life of the refugees. A summary of the supplies and services provided will also be found in annex F, and this opportunity is taken of acknowledging the great help given by the voluntary agencies.
24. The Agency's resources have never been adequate to enable it to provide clothing for the refugees in its care. Clothing needs have had to be provided by the refugees themselves or through donations from outside sources. As the years have gone by, the refugees have largely used up what clothing they had been able to bring with them from their homes. The need for outside help has, therefore, been steadily and urgently increasing. Had it not been for the generous and determined efforts of various voluntary agencies, the plight of the refugees would have been even more serious. Even though donations of clothing from voluntary agencies have increased substantially over the years, this increase has not been sufficient to meet all the minimum needs of the refugees. The ill-clad condition of the children is particularly noticeable. It is hoped that increased supplies of clothing can be provided by the voluntary agencies. In addition, consideration is being given to the feasibility of a distribution of cotton cloth, which would be of importance both to the physical well-being of the refugees and from the psychological point of view.
) COST OF RELIEF
25. In summary, the Agency has during the past year managed, at a cost of $23,900,000, to provide rations, health care and certain welfare and supplementary services for a number of refugees amounting, at the end of the year, to about 887,000 persons, and shelter for some 320,000. This cost works out at the low average figure of approximately $27 per head per year.
26. The cost of relief at the current level will, it is estimated, amount to $26 million in 1954-1955. This is $8 million more than the $18 million provisionally authorized by the General Assembly at its eighth session. It should, however, be recalled that the figure of $18 million was based on the assumption that 65,000 refugees would be employed in projects, and that the relief budget would be relieved of the cost of maintaining them and their families (a total of, say, 325,000 persons). In fact, as is seen in annex C to the present report, some 8,000 refugees only have been permanently removed from the ration lists resulting in temporary reductions amounting to about 25,000 ration months. The following section shows that a very substantial additional employment of refugees is not to be expected in the near future. This fact, plus the fact that there will be a very substantial natural increase in the population, means that there can be no reduction in relief
costs in 1954-1955 -- assuming that current standards are continued. If improvements are to be made in those standards, the cost will of course rise.
III. THE REHABILITATION PROGRAMME
27. The programme endorsed by the General Assembly at its sixth session and referred to under section I above had, as its goal, the gradual reduction of the cost of relief and the eventual elimination of relief through rehabilitation measures. The original date set for the attainment of that goal was about 30 June 1954.
28. Although, as it appears in retrospect, the achievement of such a result in so short a period of time was a practical impossibility, there can be no doubt but that the General Assembly hoped and expected that substantial progress would be made towards the desired end. Since the progress appears on the surface to have been negligible, it is important for the Assembly to review and evaluate what has been done, to take note of the obstacles faced and to consider the possibilities for the future.
29. The rehabilitation annex to the present report (annex C) contains summary data and information on the principal projects undertaken or supported by the Agency. It discloses real progress on a number of relatively small projects and encouraging beginnings on two major ones.
30. The latter relate to the work done to date on the project for irrigation in north-west Sinai and in connexion with the Yarmuk-Jordan Valley development. Essential but time-consuming survey work, as well as agricultural and economic studies, have been carried out on each of these projects, and it is expected that the Agency will be in a position within the next few months to determine the extent to which the projects are physically feasible and to make arrangements preliminary to the start of actual construction. Assuming
their physical feasibility, the final determination as to whether or not the projects will be undertaken will depend on the conclusion of satisfactory agreements with the Governments concerned.
31. It is important to recognize, however, that when these two projects are completed they will provide, as presently contemplated, a living for an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 persons only, and it will be some years before that number can be considered fully self-supporting. The most recent estimate of the progress of the Sinai project is that engineering works will take two years to complete, and that it will take a number of years longer to install 10,000 families and make them fully self-supporting by agriculture. The Jordan Valley project is not likely to take less time.
32. As regards the obstacles to the attainment of the goal envisaged by the General Assembly, a very important one is the absence of a solution along the lines of the Assembly's resolutions regarding repatriation and compensation. Apart from that, the slow progress can be attributed in large part to the meagreness of the physical resources made available for development. In part, also, the attitude of the refugees and, in some cases, that of the Governments have served to make progress difficult.
33. As regards the refugees, the majority of them have been exiles for six years, but time has not softened the bitterness of separation. The prevailing sentiment of at least the older refugees is the longing to return to their homes. In the absence of some other acceptable solution, that sentiment will continue to dominate the attitude of the refugees as a group, and it would be a serious mistake to under-estimate its strength.
34. Unfortunately, the refugees as a group have not as yet come to realize that, even if there could be a prompt and acceptable political settlement, it would in all probability require several years of readjustment before they could re-achieve a satisfactory manner of life. Instead of recognizing that rehabilitation projects will greatly ease this readjustment and help to prepare them for re-entry into normal life, many of the refugees consider that the concept of "rehabilitation" means depriving them of something. Consequently, they do not yet fully accept the fact that it is in their interests, and particularly those of their children, to participate in and to welcome projects for rehabilitation -- despite the fact that it is made clear to them that such participation would not prejudice their rights to repatriation or compensation.
35. Moreover no settlement, however temporary, of refugees can take place without the consent of the host Government concerned. The host Governments naturally have had to bear in mind the interests of their own indigenous populations. They have also been aware of the feeling of the refugees, and apparently have not wanted to take or approve actions which the refugees might consider prejudicial to their rights -- particularly those rights relating to repatriation and compensation. Even though no project which the Agency has proposed would prejudice these rights, certain of the Governments concerned have not been prepared to undertake with the Agency the development of some promising rehabilitation projects. In other cases, however, it has been recognized by the Governments concerned that such projects are in the best interests of their people, including the refugees; as shown in annex C, progress is being made.
36. As indicated above, one of the most serious obstacles to the attainment of the goal set by the General Assembly concerning rehabilitation stems from the inadequacies of physical resources. Much of the land thus far made available for agricultural development in the areas presently within reach of the refugees is marginal at best -- and, in some cases, unusable. Aside from the Yarmuk-Jordan Valley and Sinai projects, there appear to be no practicable possibilities for major rehabilitation projects in the areas in which the largest numbers of the refugees are now living.
37. In spite of the obstacles and difficulties confronting the rehabilitation programme, it is most important that every effort should be continued to further it. In this connexion, there is a real need for additional major projects to be made available and developed in the Near and Middle East if the population problem, including the refugee problem, is to be handled in the best interests of the people. And, taking into account purely economic considerations, it must be recognized that the problem is a long-term one which will require many years of developmental and engineering work.
38. A study which the Agency has recently completed of the planned economic development of the region discloses that this development will be mainly by way of increases in the area of cultivated land, since the expansion of local industry will not alone greatly relieve the pressure of growing numbers upon production. The study further reveals that, on the basis of planning already in process, only Iraq will have succeeded by 1975 in bringing under cultivation more land than is required to maintain its population (including
the natural increase) at the present standard of living. Unless new projects additional to those under consideration in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria are undertaken, those countries would all have in 1975 larger numbers of people to support per unit of irrigated land than at present. All four must face the urgent problem of accelerating the time schedule of development projects now under way or planned.
39. The rate of acceleration and the ability to develop new projects will depend upon the availability of finance and of trained personnel. To keep pace with the population increase, and to enable the refugees to become self-supporting, the countries of the area must secure additional funds from internal or external sources to step up the present rate of expenditure for development. One source of external funds which is immediately available is the balance of the Agency's rehabilitation fund. The question that remains is: can that balance be committed for projects that show a promise of success?
IV. EDUCATION AND TRAINING POLICY
40. In the light of the factors discussed above, and particularly of the growing awareness of the longer-term character of the refugee problem, the Agency has considered it necessary and desirable to introduce certain changes in its education and training policy. The nature of these changes, as well as the extent to which all phases of education have expanded during 1953-1954, are set forth in more detail in annex D to the present report. It will be noted that registration in UNRWA primary and secondary schools has increased and that, by these means and with the aid of grants paid to Governments and private schools, the total number of children receiving academic education is approximately 155,000. A further increase in numbers is to be expected for the next school year.
41. The increase in the numbers of children -- both boys and girls -- seeking education in schools organized or aided by UNRWA has placed a greater financial burden on the Agency and has enlarged its responsibilities. But, by the same token, the Agency has been granted a greater opportunity, working in collaboration with the host Governments, to prepare the children for a useful life.
42. Unfortunately, in spite of good will on the part of certain of the host countries, their economies cannot at present absorb any significant number of people unexpectedly entering the labour market. It is anticipated, however, that the development of Near Eastern economies over the next ten to twenty years will call for a supply of labour of all types, including skilled agriculturists, workmen and artisans. It must also be recognized that the quality of craftsmanship in the Near East is not as high as it could be, and that a constant supply of skilled workmen and artisans trained to a higher level than the existing average is required in order to raise the general standard.
43. The potential economic expansion that could and, it is hoped, will take place in this region over the next twenty years is a challenge to the educational systems of all States in the area. The Agency is in a good position to set in motion measures which can help to meet that challenge, for its educational system is still comparatively new and flexible. It proposes to do so by expanding, as rapidly as possible, a system of vocational training centres similar to the two already operating near Jerusalem and in the Gaza strip. These centres, of which it is at present planned to build eight more (five of them specializing in agriculture) will provide artisans and agricultural experts and leaders trained to higher standards. In addition, they will achieve three other objectives. The first is to train instructors who can be used whenever a rapid expansion in training facilities becomes necessary. The second is to provide facilities for re-training artisans whose skills have deteriorated as a result of long periods of unemployment. The third is to provide facilities for trade-testing, so that employers seeking skilled work-men can determine whether recruits are suitable for the jobs for which they have applied.
44. In order to ensure that the pupils at the vocational training centres are possessed of the necessary aptitudes, the Agency proposes to introduce a handicraft programme. This will be confined during 1954-1955 to the Gaza strip, where special classrooms are being built and Palestinian instructors trained.
V. THE POSITION OF THE AGENCY
45. Financial statements for the fiscal year ended 30 June 1954 will be presented to the General Assembly separately, together with the report of the Board of Auditors. Summary comments on the statements are set forth in annex B below.
46. Similarly, the Agency's detailed plan of expenditure for 1954-1955 and its request for cash contributions will be submitted in a separate report. A summary is also contained in annex B.
47. In that annex, attention is also drawn to the difficulties arising from the fact that the General Assembly's approval of the Agency's budget can only
(because of the normal date of the Assembly's sessions) be given several months after the beginning of the financial year to which the budget relates. Certain suggestions are made in the annex with a view to overcoming this difficulty.
48. A number of important changes in the organization of the Agency were introduced during the past twelve months; in particular the different functions have been grouped into three departments, each under the control of an assistant director. One administrative measure of some importance was the conclusion of arrangements with the United Nations Children's Fund whereby the latter undertook to act as UNRWA's agent in the procurement of goods and supplies which have to be imported from overseas. The experiment is still in the early stages, and a review of the results so far achieved is in hand. A substantial part of the Agency's requirements by quantity will continue to be purchased locally.
49. During the year under review, the Agency has made or planned a number of changes in matters of employer-employee relationships designed to bring its practices more into conformity with those of the United Nations Secretariat proper. It has been arranged that an indemnity on termination will be paid, amounting to one month's salary for each completed year of service. The establishment of a provident fund is under discussion. Appeals boards, to advise the Director on the application of certain regulations, have been put on a more regular footing. A provisional staff committee has been set up.
) THE FUTURE
50. At its eighth session, the General Assembly decided to extend the Agency's mandate until 30 June 1955, and to review the Agency's programme at the ninth session.
51. As indicated in previous sections of the present report, even on the most favourable assumptions it will take many years to bring about an improvement in the economic circumstances of the Near East to the point where the refugees will be capable of doing without assistance -- years during which some of them at least must depend upon others for food and shelter and other basic needs.
52. Inquiries have been made of the host Governments to determine whether or not they are prepared to accept administrative responsibility for the relief programme. Formal replies in the negative have been received from two Governments. There is every reason to believe that neither of the other two Governments is prepared to accept this responsibility at the present time. Although the reasons are not expressly stated, and may differ from country to country, it is assumed that this reluctance or inability to accept responsibility for the care and maintenance of the refugees derives largely from political and financial causes.
53. It may also be due in part to a belief that the assumption of responsibility would require the taking of such measures to expand the administrative services of the host Governments as to make it impracticable at the present time. It is recognized that the many and diverse problems involved in meeting the basic needs of the refugees would impose a serious and difficult burden on the existing services of some, if not all, of the Governments.
54. To determine whether or not it would in fact be practicable for the host Governments to assume the responsibility for relief depends upon considerations not wholly within the competence of the Agency to evaluate. If the host Governments could take over, such a step would eliminate some of the operational difficulties which have confronted the Agency, the legal status of which as an international organization and as a subsidiary organ of the United Nations has not always in the past been fully recognized. Moreover, in the event of a transfer of relief responsibility, the General Assembly could then concentrate the remaining aspects of the Agency's work in the hands of a body with different and more specialized responsibilities.
55. It is most important, however, from the point of view of the efficiency and morale of the staff of the Agency that a decision should be taken promptly on this matter. The uncertainty which has existed concerning the extent and duration of the Agency's work, as well as concerning its legal status, has seriously impaired the Agency's ability to perform as adequately and effectively as it itself would deem necessary and desirable.
56. Consequently, if it is accepted that the United Nations will be prepared to continue to furnish financial and administrative assistance to the Palestine Arab refugees, and that UNRWA will remain the agent for carrying on this work, it is believed that certain measures will have to be taken to enable the Agency to function on a more efficient and effective basis. One of these relates to the period and conditions of employment. Efficiency requires that the members of the staff should not only be good, but that they should be prepared to stay in the area long enough to acquire a mastery of their jobs and for the Agency to benefit therefrom. Offers of employment limited in time to one year make it difficult to attract recruits of the quality required. If, therefore, the General Assembly should decide this year to extend UNRWA's mandate, it is considered important that it should do so for a reasonable number of years subject, of course, to the proviso that, to the extent that satisfactory arrangements can be made with the host Governments for transferring responsibility for all or part of the Agency's functions, such transfers should be made.
57. Although these do not require specific General Assembly action, it should be noted that there are some further difficulties which the Agency has encountered during the past twelve months and which must be overcome if the Agency continues in being and is to function efficiently and in the best interests of the refugees. The following instances may be given: opposition to the development of a satisfactory system for deleting from the rolls the names of persons not entitled to rations or other assistance from the Agency; refusal to allow the importation of goods purchased abroad; attempts to establish control over the internal administration of the Agency; the attachment of certain bank accounts; and continued attempts to levy taxes on materials and assets used by the Agency in its operations or owned by it. It is to be hoped that satisfactory arrangements could be made to overcome such difficulties where they continue to exist.
58. In addition to the points mentioned in paragraphs 56 and 57 as important requisites if the Agency's mandate is to be continued, there are a number of other matters of importance upon which the Assembly's guidance or instructions will also be required if the Agency is to carry on its work effectively. Among these are: a clear statement as to the Agency's objectives and terms of reference; the adoption of measures to enable longer term budgetary planning and approval; an indication of the standards of relief to be made available; the problem of the so-called "economic refugees"; and the question of the extent, if any, to which rehabilitation funds can be employed on general economic and agricultural improvements of indirect benefit to the refugees, as distinguished from projects of direct benefit to ration recipients. The Director intends to discuss all these matters with the Advisory Commission and will be prepared to make recommendations to the Assembly should that body wish to consider an extension of the Agency's mandate.
NUMBER OF REFUGEES AND RATIONS DISTRIBUTED
The number of rations shown has been corrected to the equivalent number of full rations, as some registered refugees (children under one year old and in some areas up to three and a half years old) receive no dry rations and others (frontier villagers) receive half rations. Before the eighth session of the General Assembly, children under seven years old and certain Bedouins also received half rather than full rations.
No longer under UNRWA responsibility.
DISTRIBUTION OF REFUGEES ACCORDING TO AGE, SEX AND COUNTRY OF RESIDENCE AS AT 30 JUNE 1954
0-1 years 1-15 years 15 years and over
Male Female Male Female Male Female
Lebanon ....... 841 694 25,307 22,819 25,628 26,347
Syria ........1,390 1,370 20,412 18,248 21,821 22,950
Jordan ...... 3,307 3,009 122,298 107,947 120,363 129,707
Gaza ....... 2,605 2,422 52,466 46,859 50,143 58,105
TOTAL 8,143 7,495 220,483 195,873 217,955 237,109
1. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
1. Financial statements for the fiscal year ended 30 June 1954 will be presented separately, together with the report of the Board of Auditors; they are therefore not duplicated in the present report. The following comments are, however, made on the statements:
Statement of assets and liabilities
2. The net assets of the Agency decreased during the financial year by approximately $5,800,000 as shown below:
30 June 1954 30 June 1953 Decrease
(in millions of US dollars)
Total assets .......... 41.6 46.7 5.1
and reserves ........ 2.0 1.3 ( .7)
Net assets ............. 39.6 45.4 5.8
3. The decrease in net assets reflects an excess of expenditure over income of $5,600,000 and an adjustment of $200,000 in working capital.
4. The Agency received no cash for its rehabilitation programme and expenditure upon rehabilitation was met from its accumulated funds. The total income for the fiscal year (which was entirely devoted to the relief programme) amounted to approximately $23,600,000, made up as follows:
in millions of US dollars)
Cash contributions from Governments ............... 22.6
Contributions in kind from Governments............. 0.4
Contributions from others.......................... 0.2
Miscellaneous income .............................. 0.5
[i:Less] exchange adjustments ....................... 0.1
5. The cash contributions from Governments of $22,600,000 were $2,200,000 less than the amount of such contributions anticipated.
6. The status of pledges as at 30 June 1954 is as follows:
less withdrawals Received
of pledges during
during Year Balance
year 1953-1954 expected
(in millions of US dollars)
United States of America.. 45.9 15.0 30.9
United Kingdom of Great
Britain and Northern
Ireland ................ 14.8 5.0 9.8
France .................. 3.0 1.5 1.5
Host Governments ....... 0.6 0.3 0.3
Other Governments ...... 1.9 1.1 0.8
Other contributors ...... 0.2 0.2 -
TOTAL 66.4 23.1 43.3
7. The figures in the first column of paragraph 6 reflect the fact that during the year 1953-1954 the United States adjusted downwards its unpaid pledges by $13,200,000 in accordance with the policy of contributing not more than 70 per cent of total contributions; also that during the year France reduced its 1952-1953 pledge by $500,000.
8. The major unpaid pledges, those of the United States and the United Kingdom, represent sums reserved for rehabilitation programme agreements for which cash has not been required, since specific project agreements have not yet been signed.
9. No cash pledges were made for 1953-1954 by the host Governments and no cash payments against unpaid pledges of previous years were received from them. However, all the host Governments contributed various services, both to the Agency and direct to the refugees themselves. These included certain hospital subsidies, port charges, warehousing, porterage, rents of UNRWA offices and camp sites and transport for supplies, as well as some medical and educational services.
10. There appears to be an increasing tendency for some of the contributing Governments to restrict the use of their cash contributions by stipulating that the contribution must be spent in the country of origin. The Agency endeavours to arrange this as far as possible, but strict insistence on such a course tends to handicap UNRWA in its commercial operations and to increase the cost to the Agency of some commodities above world market prices. It is to be hoped that such restrictive practices will be withdrawn in the interests of the programme as a whole.
11. The budgeted expenditure on relief for 1953-1954 was $27,300,000, based upon the approval by the General Assembly of new cash contributions of $24,800,000. The actual expenditure was only $23,900,000, or $3,400,000 less than anticipated. More than half this saving was due to a fall in the prices of basic subsistence commodities - particularly flour.
12. The expenditure on shelter and hutting was over $1 million less than the budgeted amount, but this was due to an unavoidable postponement of some of the construction, and the work and expenditure will be carried over to 1954-1955. This saving was offset, however, by the fact that nearly $1 million more than anticipated was required for various accounts, including increased subsidies to hospitals ($150,000), freight on clothing donations ($260,000) and provision for terminal payments to area staff ($400,000).
13. The average over-all cost per refugee for relief was approximately $27 per annum, a remarkably low figure.
14. The budgeted expenditure on rehabilitation, including education, was $7,800,000 and the actual expenditure $5,300,000. This difference is due largely to the fact that the amount spent on projects was $2,200,000 less than the budgeted figure.
2. PROPOSED EXPENDITURE FOR THE YEAR 1954-1955
15. The Agency's detailed plan of expenditure for 1954-1955 and its request for cash contributions and pledges will be submitted to the General Assembly in a separate document. The plan is, therefore, only summarized here.
16. The relief programme is budgeted to cost $26,000,000 as compared with an actual expenditure in 1953-1954 of $23,900,000. The increase over the 1953-1954 figure is to a great extent accounted for by two items: ([i:a]) shelter and camp maintenance, on which $2,700,000 are budgeted compared with an expenditure of $1,600,000 in 1953-1954; and ([i:b]) an operational reserve of approximately $800,000 which is required in part in recognition of the fact that the natural increase in the population may require rations and services for an additional number of persons, but also in order to cover other unforeseeable costs. It is assumed that the same minimum standard of nutrition will continue to apply. If it were later decided that this standard should be raised somewhat, or that a clothing issue should be made to refugees (who at present depend entirely on voluntary contributions of clothing from outside sources), the relief budget would have to be increased accordingly.
17. The rehabilitation programme is budgeted to cost $36 million, of which $6 million is on projects and activities already in hand (including $3 million on education) and $30 million is for expenditure on additional project agreements (i.e., contracts) which it is hoped will be signed during the year. Of this $30 million, $13,200,000 is earmarked for the Yarmuk-Jordan Valley project, and $11 million for the Sinai desert irrigation project; the bulk of the remaining $5,800,000 being for various training projects and a rehabilitation project which it is hoped to conclude with the Libyan Government.
3. FINANCING RELIEF AND REHABILITATION
18. The General Assembly, in approving the 1953-1954 relief budget, set a tentative figure of $18 million as the 1954-1955 requirement. Such a figure was predicated on the hope that the number of ration recipients would be substantially reduced from the 1953-1954 figure through rehabilitation activities. This hope has not been realized and the fact must be faced that it is not likely to be realized for some years. It is more practical to assume that for some years to come the cost of relief will run at a figure of about $25 million annually, granted that the present world prices of commodities are maintained and that the present standard of relief, which is felt to be a minimum one, is not raised.
19. As at 30 June 1954, the Working Fund of the Agency totalled approximately $39,500,000, of which $34 million was cash, and the balance ($5,500,000) was represented principally by inventories, equipment and goods in transit.
20. Of the $34 million in cash, approximately $25,500,000 is reserved for rehabilitation, leaving $8,500,000 available for relief. With the relief programme running at a more or less constant level, the size of the inventories and pipeline supplies will also remain fairly constant, and the cash required for financing the programme can be assessed in advance and should be in the Agency's hands in time to place its orders.
21. The General Assembly meets towards the end of the calendar year and the funds that it authorizes and the cash resulting from the pledges made by contributing countries are not available to the Agency until well into the following year. It is obvious, therefore, that the Agency must have in hand at the beginning of its fiscal year (i.e., 1 July) sufficient cash to finance the relief programme for, say, eight months -- or, say, some $17 million. Inasmuch as the actual cash the Agency has in hand for relief at the beginning of the year 19541955 is $8,500,000 only, it will be clear that towards the end of the calendar year this sum will have been exhausted, and the relief programme will then have to be financed by "borrowing" from the funds earmarked for rehabilitation (the $25,500,000 mentioned above) until the contributions of Governments are paid. While the rehabilitation programme is in its infancy, this method of financing relief is quite practicable, although perhaps not entirely orthodox. When the rehabilitation programme gets into its stride, it may from time to time require to utilize its "reserve" to the full for its own purposes, and then to "borrow" from it for relief will not be feasible.
22. This point is brought out to show that at some time in the future (although not the present year), if the Agency is to be continued, it will be necessary for it to request the General Assembly to authorize an amount of cash for this relief working capital fund for a sum of, say, $9 million over and above the amount requested to cover actual annual expenditure.
23. Alternatively, and perhaps preferably, the Agency could, if it is to be continued, prepare a provisional budget for 1955-1956 in January 1955. After it had been agreed by the Advisory Commission, contributing countries could be requested to advance some 50 per cent of the cash requirements shown in this provisional budget by 1 July 1955. The final budget would be prepared at the usual time and presented to the General Assembly at its session towards the end of 1955. This procedure could be repeated each year during the life of the Agency.
4.CASH REQUIREMENTS FOR THE YEAR 1954-1955
24. As shown above, relief expenditure is estimated at $26,100,000, of which the Agency would require $25,600,000 in contributions ($500,000 approximately, it is assumed, will come from miscellaneous income).
25. As far as rehabilitation is concerned, the Agency expects to spend or contract $36 million in the fiscal year. The reserve on hand earmarked for rehabilitation is $25,500,000 and it is believed (particularly in view of the financing of relief by borrowing from this fund) that this figure should not be allowed to fall below $15 million.
26. The Agency plans to obtain the balance needed for the rehabilitation programme, namely $26 million, by calling upon the outstanding pledges as and when required.
1. Previous annual reports of the Director to the General Assembly have described the establishment and use of the $200 million rehabilitation fund. It is a fund distinct from the cash required for the relief of refugees, and is devoted to the development of projects (including a broad educational programme) directed towards making self-supporting those refugees who are receiving rations, so that they no longer will need to be dependent on the Agency's relief services.
2. These projects are nearly all administered by the Agency's offices in the various host countries, subject, of course, to control by headquarters; they are, therefore, described below country by country. One successful project, however, being of a general nature and operating in more than one country, is administered by headquarters and is described in this report separately.
3. On 12 May 1952, UNRWA signed its first programme agreement. It earmarked the sum of $11 million from the rehabilitation fund for the purpose of developing projects in Jordan (apart from any Yarmuk-Jordan Valley development scheme). The $11 million reservation was to be devoted to all supplementary projects in Jordan, including general economic and agricultural development, the operation of the Development Bank of Jordan, and vocational training activities. No termination date was specified. As of 30 June 1954, $3,687,839
out of the $11 million had been committed for the purposes set forth in the agreement.
4. On 30 March 1953, the Agency signed a second programme agreement with the Jordan Government whereby $40 million was earmarked for possible Yarmuk-Jordan Valley development. The original termination date for the agreement was 30 December 1953, but it has since been extended to 30 June 1955. Specific projects have been developed out of this agreement for such works as malaria control, preliminary engineering surveys, the Irbed-Maqarin approach road, soils analysis, land classification and topographical surveys. As at the end of June 1954, $866,189 had been committed under this agreement.
5. Significant projects in Jordan are described below:
Yarmuk-Jordan Valley Development
6. So far as is known, development of the Jordan Valley by the use of the waters of the Yarmuk and Jordan rivers offers the best possibility in Jordan for providing a livelihood for substantial numbers of the refugees in the country. It has been estimated that the waters of these rivers might irrigate perhaps 460,000 dunums and that this irrigated area might support, through direct and indirect employment, between 100,000 and 150,000 more people than are now living in the Jordan Valley. The construction of dams, canals and other works would also give direct employment to up to 12,000 persons over a period of several years. UNRWA is therefore conducting, or is assisting in conducting a number of technical surveys and auxiliary projects which will hasten actual development operations if and when the considerable political differences at present delaying exploitation of these rivers are resolved. Among these surveys and projects are the following:
7. On 24 June 1953, the Government of Jordan signed a contract with certain American engineers to survey the Jordan and Yarmuk Valleys with a view to ascertaining the best sites for dams and for an appropriate network of irrigation canals, as well as the probable cost of the project. Core drilling began at the proposed Adasiyeh diversion weir in the fall of 1953; and the engineers are now studying possible dam sites on the Yarmuk at Maqarin and Wadi Khalid. The original contract was financed by the United States Operations Mission to Jordan up to $1 million; by UNRWA up to $290,000; and by the Jordanian Development Board up to $210,000. Shortly before the close of the period under review, an additional $400,000 was requested from UNRWA in order to continue the survey. It is understood that further sums will be requested before the engineering survey is completed, which, it is estimated, will be the end of March 1955.
8. Since previous reconnaissance studies had seemed to indicate the probability of satisfactory dam sites at Maqarin or Wadi Khalid, the Government of Jordan urged the construction of approach roads to these sites. Under an agreement with the Government, dated 3 December 1952, UNRWA set aside $515,700 for a road from Irbed to Maqarin, and approximately $380,000 had been expended by 30 June 1954. This road is now largely finished and a 25-kilometre offshoot to Wadi Khalid is also under construction.
9. Malaria has been the scourge of the area for centuries. Its control is essential to effective development of the Yarmuk-Jordan Valley. The Agency agreed with the Government of Jordan in December 1952 to initiate a limited anti-malaria campaign in the Valley. So successful was this operation that the Agency now plans to expand the campaign into a five-year programme at a cost of about $404,000.
10. Agreement has been reached with the Syrian authorities to extend the control work to both sides of the Yarmuk river. The campaign is directed by an Egyptian malariologist seconded to the Agency by the World Health Organization. UNRWA teams, working in close collaboration with the Jordanian Ministry of Health, have already largely succeeded in eradicating malaria from certain heavily infested areas. It is expected that the control over the Agency's teams and their operations will gradually be transferred to the
Ministry of Health so that at the end of the five-year period the Government of Jordan will have an effective operating staff technically prepared to carry on permanent control measures.
11. A land classification and soils analysis of the entire Jordan Valley was begun in 1953. Now about one-third finished, the survey is scheduled for full completion by 1 January 1955.
12. In order to estimate the economic potential of the Jordan Valley and in anticipation of the economic problems that might be associated with its development, UNRWA conducted an agricultural survey of the area that was scheduled for completion in July 1954. It was found that 93,000 refugees and 53,000 non-refugees were already living in the Jordanian parts of the Yar-muk-Jordan Valley area. Of the non-refugees, some 20,000 persons were agricultural owners or agricultural tenants. It was estimated, after consideration of all the factors involved, that a family might become self-supporting by the cultivation of an average of twenty irrigated dunums. Further, agricultural wage labour and other indirect employment would be generated by the development of the Valley. It appeared, therefore, that a livelihood might be provided for about one-third of the total refugee population of Jordan.
Agricultural settlements in Jordan
13. The Agency has completed two agricultural and housing settlements in Jordan and four others are well on the way.
14. These are as follows:
of Total through
family Area estimated 30 June Current
settlers (dunums) cost
Beit Qad.... 13 1,330 20,626 19,795 Completed:
(rain-fed) 99 indivi-
Marj Na'ja.. 24 750 125,858 119,699 Completed:
(irrigated) families to
Majameh . 40 2,800 4,112 32,155 Houses 100
(rain-fed) per cent
Hebeileh ... 80 6,870 145,018 91,482 Houses 100
(rain-fed) per cent
Kalonia .... 18 900 36,554 12,877 Houses 65
(rain-fed) per cent
Kalandia ... 125 6,400 206,919 -- Houses not
TOTAL 300 19,050 599,087 276,008
Land is to be furnished by the Government of Jordan; the estimates and actual expenditure include all expenditure made by the Agency on improving the land, and on houses and equipment.
15. The Beit Qad settlement described in the previous annual report is progressing satisfactorily.
16. The Marj Na'ja settlement is technically completed; all the settlers are to be removed from ration rolls in July 1954, and negotiations are now in progress to transfer administrative responsibility for the project to the Government of Jordan. The project has thirty-four buildings, now housing twenty-four families, and two wells producing enough water to irrigate 750 dunums. Each family has twenty-five irrigated dunums, a house costing about $1,000, mules, sheep and some farm implements. Crops have been raised in 1952, 1953 and 1954. The net income per family averaged JD.123 for crops harvested in the spring of 1954, and a further net income of JD.120 per family is expected for the summer vegetable crop of 1954. This compares with an average net income per agricultural family in the Jordan Valley of JD.67 annually.
17. The remaining four projects are financed by UNRWA but are being carried out by the Government. The land is being surveyed, but in some cases there is doubt as to the actual amount of land that will be available.
18. Experience in conducting these pilot agricultural settlements points towards several general conclusions. First, however useful small projects may be in themselves, they do not have a great effect on the over-all refugee problem. Cost and other factors indicate that large projects are necessary to cope with the rehabilitation problem. Secondly, vailability of land and water must be definitely assured before refugees are placed in a settlement. Otherwise, uncertainty concerning the amount of land available to each settler may jeopardize the entire project. Lastly, a careful selection of settlers is a prerequisite to a successful settlement.
19. Because of the housing shortage in most Jordanian towns shelter represents a heavy cost element in the budget of refugees who wish to become self-supporting. The provision of low-cost housing is therefore an urgent necessity. In addition to the Amman housing scheme, involving fifty houses for 253 ration recipient refugees, completed in 1952, UNRWA is now planning new low-cost urban housing for a total of 200 families in Amman, Jerusalem, Hebron and Aqaba. Refugees who will occupy the houses are those who are already partially self-supporting and who, with low rents, will become entirely self-supporting and thus removable from ration rolls. Designs are being drawn and negotiations are under way with the Government of Jordan for the selection of suitable sites. The houses will be financed by UNRWA, with the refugees paying nominal rents; the land will be obtained by the Government.
Ghor Nimrin tent factory
20. Another successful project developed by the Agency was the Ghor Nimrin tent factory near Jericho. The factory was built with UNRWA rehabilitation funds, at a cost of $80,000. It was originally built to ensure the supply of the large number of tents required by the Agency's relief operations. The factory is now prepared to supply, at competitive costs, tents to other users in the Middle East. It permanently employs 142 refugees, many of whom had acquired skills in this line during the time of the British Mandate, and an additional 100 daily workers when peak orders are received. The refugees receive wages for their work in the factory, and those whose wages exceed a certain figure have been removed from the ration rolls. Some of the refugees live in the nearby Ghor Nimrin housing project, erected by the Government, where they pay nominal rent. Others live in nearby UNRWA camps or in tents located at the factory.
21. The factory produced more than 6,300 tents in the year ending 30 June 1954.
Development Bank of Jordan
22. The Development Bank of Jordan was established under an agreement between the Government of Jordan and UNRWA of 8 June 1951, to make long-term loans to productive enterprises in agriculture and industry that will give employment to refugees. The authorized capital of the Bank is JD.500,000 ($1,400,000) of which JD.400,000 is to come from UNRWA, JD.50,000 from the Government and JD.50,000 from commercial banks.
23. The operations of the Bank through the end of its financial year, 31 March 1954, may be summarized as follows:
24. Out of a paid-up capital of JD.311,357 (JD.250,000 by UNRWA, JD.31,350 by the Government and JD.30,007 by commercial banks in Jordan), 100 loans were issued in a total amount of JD.258,439. Of these loans eighty-five for JD.142,987, were for agricultural purposes and fifteen, for JD.115,452, for industrial purposes.
25. The agricultural loans are granted mainly for long-term development of privately owned land; they vary in size according to the amount and the quality of the lands involved. In general, the funds allotted by the Bank are used for purposes such as terracing, the digging and improving of wells, the construction or repair of irrigation canals, the building of rainwater cisterns, the purchase of mechanical equipment, livestock, etc., the planting of fruit trees, the construction of housing for farm labourers, and so on.
26. The industrial loans include several more important projects (loans over JD.20,000) as well as smaller ones. In the first category, mention may be made of a tobacco industry, which received a loan for the purposes of buying machinery, of increasing its stock of American leaf tobacco and of giving advances to Jordanian growers of tobacco; the industry was enabled thereby to expand its business considerably. There is a marble factory which was granted a loan for the purchase of machinery, of adjacent land, etc., and which now is producing marble of a remarkably fine quality. A loan was made to a hotel company to assist in financing the building of a large hotel in Jerusalem (including the purchase of the required land) to promote the tourist industry. The smaller projects include a loan to improve a small glass factory in Amman, so as to enable it to remould broken glass into clear glassware, a loan to a dairy plant in Amman for the production of pasteurized milk, butter, cheese, labaneh and ice cream, and a loan to a nail factory in Kalandia for the purpose of importing the required wire.
27. Although all loans are granted on a strictly commercial basis (e.g., sufficient security must be offered and the project must promise reasonable profits), the fact that the Bank issues (and is the first and only institution in Jordan to act thus) long-term loans (five to ten years) at a comparatively low interest rate (usually 6 per cent but sometimes less) constitutes an undoubted economic stimulus in a country where lack of capital hampers development.
28. In all cases where the Bank has granted loans refugee labour is employed; altogether, the loans have given employment to approximately 1,000 refugee labourers. This has not yet resulted in the removal of any refugees from the ration rolls. In May 1954, however, new procedures were adopted by the Board of the Bank, according to which the Agency would make a special review of past and future loans with a view to determining the degree of self-support that had been or would be reached by the beneficiaries, so that justifiable removals from the ration rolls could be made.
29. The Bank, during the financial year ending 31 March 1954, made a net profit of JD.5,590 compared with a loss of JD.620 for the preceding year.
Miscellaneous rehabilitation projects
Small grants programme
30. Based upon the Agency's experience with a grants programme in Syria, the small grants programme in Jordan is designed to enable refugees already in possession of some assets to bridge the gap between partial and full self-support. The grants will enable artisans to acquire tools, shopkeepers to procure stocks and supplies, and farm families in possession of tenancy leases to obtain homes and farm equipment. The programme will be modest in scope, because of the limited economic opportunities in Jordan, but offers hope to those who are already on the way towards self-support.
Administrative and technical assistance
31. The Agency has felt it desirable, whenever feasible, for the host Governments themselves to plan and carry out rehabilitation projects. With this objective in view, the Agency has financed the setting up, within the Ministry of Reconstruction and Development, of a unit known as the Administrative and Technical Staff, to be composed of forty persons responsible to the Government of Jordan rather than to UNRWA, to initiate and carry out individual rehabilitation projects financed by UNRWA. The Agency has seconded to the unit an international engineering expert and a finance and administrative officer to assist it during the formative period. Agency expenditures on the unit through 30 June 1954 amounted to $70,400.
32. The Agency has also partially financed the establishment, within the Ministry of Economy, of an Economic Planning Unit to develop long-range plans for the development of the Jordanian economy. Originally it was contemplated that a large part of the staff of this unit would be furnished by the United Nations Technical Assistance Administration. The unit has, however, not yet obtained the requisite technical experts to carry out the functions for which it was intended and its future is not clear.
33. The Government of Syria signed a programme agreement with UNRWA on 13 October 1952 in which the Government expressed its desire to co-operate with the Agency in the development of rehabilitation projects for the approximately 85,000 registered refugees in that country. Under the terms of the agreement, UNRWA earmarked an amount of $30 million for project development. Although the agreement was originally scheduled to terminate on 30 June 1954, negotiations were under way at the end of June to extend it for an additional six months. Of the $30 million, $24 million was to be reserved for agricultural development projects. As may be seen from what follows, only two such projects have actually been developed. These are small ones on marginal lands, the development of which can be accomplished only at high cost.
34. One of the two agricultural sites made available for refugee use by the Syrian Government consists of 160,000 dunums of virtually uninhabited salt steppe at Ramadan, 40 kilometres east of Damascus, on the edge of the Syrian desert. This site was offered late in 1952. Although the Agency recognized that development costs for this type of land would be high, it undertook the project because it was the first concrete offer of land for refugee use in Syria and it was considered desirable from an experimental point of view.
35. The Agency employed consultant geologists and undertook soil tests, which indicated that a possible 10,000 dunums were capable of development, if wells could be drilled to yield sweet water. As at June 1954, thirty-two wells had been drilled but only six have produced sweet water in sufficient volume to justify the installation of pumps. These six wells, now being pumped sixteen hours per day, are yielding a total of slightly over 200 cubic metres per hour. The remaining wells are yielding either no water or else water too brackish for plant or animal use.
36. When the first well produced sweet water in 1953, the Agency began agricultural experiments to ascertain what crops and methods of cultivation were appropriate. During 1953, 600 dunums were planted with maize, cotton, vetch, cucumbers, cabbage, melons, hemp, potatoes, sugar cane, sunflowers and rice, and yielded good results. In 1954, 940 dunums were planted, including 700 dunums in wheat, 30 dunums in maize and smaller amounts in vegetables, vines, apricot trees and poplars. Using refugee wage labour, the 1954 crop has been harvested, again with good results.
37. In the meantime, the Agency is building fifty mud brick houses (twenty are now completed) in anticipation of a steady flow of water from the wells.
38. As at 30 June 1954, the Agency and the Syrian Government were negotiating a project agreement under which fifty or sixty families would occupy the land, but as yet no refugees have moved in. The Agency's hope is to select initially fifty families in time for the planting of crops to be harvested in 1955. The plan contemplates that each family (an average of six persons) should be given, at the Agency's expense, twenty dunums of irrigated land, a mud brick house, one mule, thirty ewes and some agricultural implements. It also contemplates that the refugees will raise enough food for themselves and their animals (supplemented by steppe grazing outside the twenty-dunum tract), and that their cash income will be derived chiefly from the sale of lambs, meat and wool. It is estimated that the income from each ewe will be £S40 per year, thus providing each family with a gross cash income of £S1,200 per year. Because of the extensive water researches, well-drilling, experimental farming, and other works, over-all costs of the project are high in relation to the number of families expected to be accommodated. In fact, the experience gained at Ramadan, where total costs are expected to amount to more than $400,000, makes it evident that the large-scale rehabilitation of refugees by the development of small tracts of reclaimed sub-marginal desert lands is not only uneconomical, but impracticable. This is especially true when there is uncertainty concerning an adequate water supply which can be delivered to the site at reasonable cost.
39. Late in 1952, the Syrian Government offered for refugee use approximately 1,700 dunums of State land on the site of a former military airfield located at Dabaa, about 20 kilometres south-west of Homs. The Government suggested that the former military barracks could be restored and adapted for use as an orphanage for eighty refugee children. The Government also suggested that twenty refugee agricultural families could settle on and work the land, the produce from which might support not only the orphanage but the twenty families as well. The plan was for the Agency to drill wells so as to irrigate some 300 dunums to be planted with cotton and vegetables. An additional 600 dunums of rain-fed land would be planted with wheat, barley, sorghum, almonds and grapes.
40. The one well which already existed on the site provided a yield of five cubic metres of water per hour, sufficient only for the domestic needs of the proposed settlers. Efforts to find other water at Dabaa were unsuccessful and well-drilling operations were abandoned in the spring of 1954.
41. Because of the poor quality of the soil and the inadequate water supply, it was decided that the land could not support a refugee orphanage and that it could only with difficulty support twenty families. A project agreement is now being worked out whereby the land will be cultivated by seventeen refugee families, the orphanage aspect of the original proposal having been dropped. As in the case of Ramadan, costs are high.
Small grants programme
42. The Agency has continued the small grants programme begun in Syria in November 1952. Grants, in amounts not over £S400 per individual, are made to individual refugees who have small businesses, definite job offers, or employment possibilities in distant places but who need some financial aid to carry them over the barrier to full self-support. Ration cards have to be surrendered upon receipt of the grant. Fully five times as many refugees have applied for grants as the Agency has allowed -- an indication of their desire to become self-supporting. Recently, the Agency has conducted a special survey of recipients of past grants, most of whom were found to be on the road to viability. Grants have been made to 466 individual families, at an average cost of $100 per refugee.
3. EGYPT AND THE GAZA DISTRICT
43. More than two-thirds (i.e., nearly 213,000 people) of the population of Gaza, which is isolated by desert and demarcation line from normal economic contacts, consists of refugees assisted by the Agency. In order to attempt to provide opportunities of self-support, the Agency has on the one hand investigated the possibility of making fertile by irrigation some part of the Sinai desert and, on the other hand, has attempted to ameliorate the economic situation in the Gaza strip itself. There are no other rehabilitation activities in Egypt and Gaza.
44. In 1951, the Government of Egypt expressed its willingness to accept some 50,000 refugees in the Sinai peninsula. The Agency engaged in water researches in the El Arish area, but these unfortunately proved unsuccessful. On 30 June 1953, the Egyptian Government signed a programme agreement with UNRWA which provided for the reservation of $30 million from the Agency's rehabilitation fund. Of this sum, $500,000 was to be used in a search for projects in Gaza and the Sinai peninsula; the remainder was to be employed should the preliminary researches prove that feasible projects could be developed. On 14 October 1953, the Government and UNRWA signed a specific project agreement under which the Government offered 230,000 feddans of desert land in the Sinai east of the Suez Canal for research. The Government stated that, out of these 230,000 feddans, the Agency might select 50,000 feddans for agricultural development for refugees, on the understanding that Egypt would supply enough water from the Nile River (less than 1 per cent of the average annual Nile flow) to irrigate the tract. It was thought that irrigation of this area might provide support for 10,000 to 12,000 refugee families (50,000 to 70,000 individuals) from Gaza.
45. Egyptian technicians, in co-operation with UNRWA specialists, have been and are still studying the physical and economic feasibility of the project. This includes widening the Ismailia Canal and constructing additional canals to conduct sweet water from the Nile river to the Suez Canal. The Nile water would then be siphoned under the Suez Canal and irrigation canals would be laid out in the selected area. All the field work on the technical feasibility of the project was completed at the end of June 1954 and an analysis of the field data is now under way. It is expected that a report will be published towards the end of 1954.
46. If the project is undertaken, it will require several years to complete. Refugees will supply most of the construction labour. UNRWA would provide all physical facilities for the refugee families. It is believed that the sandy Sinai soil, when treated as similar land has been treated west of the Suez Canal, will grow citrus fruit, mangoes, vegetables, berseem, cereals, peanuts and dates. The project will be of a size which will enable development of certain ancillary industries.
47. The total expenditures upon the research aspects of this project through 30 June 1954 amounted to $112,800.
48. Among the refugees at Gaza are many weavers from Majdal in Palestine, whose skill in embroidery, weaving and rug making was renowned throughout the Middle East. They have formed a loose federation, the Gaza Weavers Union, with 3,000 hand looms, in an attempt to promote the manufacture and sale of their products.
49. In 1953, representatives of the Union visited Jordan at the Agency's expense, and obtained the agreement of the Government of Jordan to permit the importation into Jordan from Gaza, at nominal customs duties, of JD.150,000 worth of textiles annually. Marketing surveys now being completed indicate good prospects for such sales. The Union, however, needs additional working capital to expand its operations, and a plan is being worked out for a loan to be made by the Egyptian Government and the Agency. It is expected that from one thousand to two thousand weavers will thus find employment, enabling a proportion of them to become self-supporting. This project is separate from the Gaza Embroidery Centre, where 400 refugee girls and young women produce saleable articles of embroidery and other handicrafts; the individual incomes they earn, however, are usually very small and insufficient for self-support.
Other projects in Gaza
50. Although economic opportunities in Gaza are very limited, the Agency has managed to launch a number of small projects which alleviate, at least in some degree, the economic pressure in this densely populated strip.
51. The Agency has provided an advance of $20,000, pending the conclusion of a project agreement with the Egyptian Government, for a three-year afforestation programme (acacias and eucalyptus) on 15,000 dunums of Government domain. The afforestation may render cultivable an additional 15,000 dunums by arresting the movement of dunes and by providing protection against the hot desert winds. The protected area will be developed to render refugees self-supporting as farmers. UNRWA would supply houses and the usual physical facilities for this type of development.
52. The Agency is also planning a survey to investigate the agricultural potentialities of the Gaza strip, giving special attention to soil classification and ground water supply. It is intended that the survey should show how land at present under cultivation might be improved and production increased, so as to provide a livelihood for additional refugee families. In addition, the survey will investigate the forest and agricultural potentialities of the sand-dune area, which occupies two-thirds of the total Gaza strip and which is largely undeveloped.
53. Arrangements are being negotiated with the Sheikh of one of the large Bedouin tribes to give lifelong tenancy rights to fifty refugee families of the tribe on 2,000 dunums of underdeveloped land owned by the Sheikh. The land would be developed at the Agency's expense, and the development would include well-boring as well as the provision of pumps, houses, livestock, tools, equipment, fertilizers and seeds. It is hoped that all families will be installed by 30 June 1955.
4. IRAQ, LEBANON AND LIBYA
54. About five thousand refugees went to Iraq during and immediately after the Palestine conflict; those in need are cared for by the Iraqi Government. The Agency has no general agreement with the Government, but maintains a liaison officer in Baghdad.
55. The Agency thus seeks employment opportunities for refugees, registered on the relief rolls in other countries, who migrate to Iraq, and has sponsored a loan programme for the establishment of new enterprises or the expansion of existing ones. Borrowers undertake to employ refugees on the Agency's ration rolls who are already in Iraq or who come for the purpose and who thus become self-supporting.
56. The Government of Lebanon has not seen its way clear to authorize any direct rehabilitation projects in Lebanon. Up to 30 June 1954, the Agency had spent from its rehabilitation fund about $200,000 in Lebanon on vocational training, placement and special welfare projects, which promote the rehabilitation of refugees indirectly.
57. On 23 November 1952, the Government of Libya signed an agreement with the Agency recognizing the desirability of co-operating with the Agency so as to provide opportunities in Libya for the rehabilitation of refugees. Negotiations to consummate that agreement by arranging the admission of agricultural and artisan families are under way.
5. PLACEMENT SERVICE
58. There is evidence that refugees now regard this service of linking jobs to applicants with more enthusiasm than they did when it was started three years ago. Local difficulties have caused the Agency to suspend its placement operations in Syria; but the offices in Lebanon and Jordan have helped many refugees to leave those countries, frequently to find work in Iraq.
59. The service, which is administered from headquarters as a service common to all areas, has found permanent employment for 2,128 persons during the year under review; by finding temporary employment, a further saving of 1,064 ration months had been made. In addition, 102 persons were removed from the ration rolls by migration or repatriation. The [i:per capita] costs of these operations were $19.82 for the employment service and $81.81 for the migration and repatriation scheme.
60. It seems, however, that nearly all the skilled and professional refugees have by now found employment. At the same time, there are many openings in the construction trades throughout the Middle East. This gives point to the Agency's vocational training schemes and emphasizes the need for thorough trade testing.
6. OPERATING PROBLEMS
Lack of provision of agricultural land for large-scale projects
61. The projects described in the present report, whether promising (such as the Sinai irrigation project) or difficult (such as those on marginal lands in Syria), emphasize the inadequacy of the physical resources made available for the rehabilitation of refugees. Certain large areas of rain-fed or easily irrigated State land have not been made available; and the development and use by refugees of smaller parcels of private land has been hampered by general inability to devise a formula for ensuring that the benefits from the expenditure of Agency funds will go, in reasonable proportions, to the refugees.
Technical supervision of projects
62. It has consistently been the aim of the Agency to disassociate itself as much as possible from the undertaking of project operations in the field. It is UNRWA's desire that projects should be developed and operated by governmental or quasi-governmental bodies, with the Agency providing technical and financial assistance and reserving the right of audit. Sufficient numbers of qualified technical staff do not now exist among the government departments. There is a serious shortage of technicians, engineers, skilled artisans and administrators. In Jordan this problem has partly been met by the establishment, by use of UNRWA funds, of the Administrative and Technical Staff in the Ministry of Development. Progress has been slow, but improvement has come with experience. Shortage of qualified technical staff exists not only among the host countries, but also within the Agency itself, where recruitment difficulties are being only slowly overcome.
The ration card as social security
63. Even where satisfactory projects are developed, it is often with great reluctance that the refugees are willing to participate and so give up their ration cards. For almost five years these cards have represented to their possessors tangible evidence of social security. With them they never really went hungry, they were able to obtain free treatment in Agency clinics and hospitals, their children were able to attend schools without any cost to the families, they were free of taxes and they were often assured of a roof over their heads. The institutionalization of refugees has become a powerful factor in impeding the development of rehabilitation projects. The ration card has become, in fact, so much a part of the life and economy of the refugees that it is not at all unusual for it to be used as a tangible asset upon the strength of which substantial sums can be borrowed.
64. Direct expenditures from the $200 million fund from 1 July 1951 to 30 June 1954, for projects, special activities and education and vocational training, amounted to approximately $7 million and approximately 8,000 permanent ration cuts had been effected. In addition, during the same period, there were substantial expenditures for administration and common services related to the development and execution of the rehabilitation programme. However, while the average cost per ration cut appeared to be high, one must consider that expenditures for research, experimentation and planning are necessary investments preliminary to carrying out major projects. Moreover, other factors are that vocational training and higher education will unquestionably result eventually in greater numbers of refugees becoming self-supporting, that substantial numbers of refugees on UNRWA relief rolls are actually already self-supporting, and that secondary employment is bound to result from rehabilitation expenditures and project development.
65. Four tables are appended which summarize the position with respect to commitments and expenditures from the rehabilitation fund and the ration reductions which have resulted, namely:
Summary of direct expenditures from the $200 million fund for education, vocational training, projects and special activities, 1 January 1951 to 30 June 1954.
Status of programme agreements as at 30 June 1954.
Status of all projects in operation during the period 1 July 1953 to 30 June 1954.
Ration reductions resulting from project operations for the period 1 January 1951 to 30 June 1954.
66. The following definitions should be borne in mind when reviewing the tables:
67. Programme agreements are broad generalized agreements entered into between the Agency and a country in which UNRWA rehabilitation activity is to be undertaken, whereby the Agency agrees to earmark a stipulated amount of its total rehabilitation fund for project activities within the country concerned. Programme agreements do not represent actual commitments. They specify that commitments will be made only as projects are agreed to under the terms of the programme agreement.
68. Project agreements are specific undertakings entered into between the Agency and the Governments, usually under the terms of a programme agreement. Project agreements go into considerable detail in describing the specific activity to be undertaken. They contain, as a justification for the expenditure of rehabilitation funds, a statement of the number of refugees expected to be made self-supporting by the project and to be removed from the ration rolls. They also contain detailed budgets, time schedules and administrative plans.
69. "Special activities" is a new classification devised to take into account the expenditure of rehabilitation funds on activities which are not designed directly to result in the rehabilitation of refugees, but which are considered necessary to maintain refugee morale and to prepare refugees for rehabilitation. Fundamental education, for example, is a special activity paid for from the rehabilitation fund. The operation of embroidery and sewing centres for refugee young women also falls into this category. Special activities may also include health projects required to ensure that refugees will be physically, as well as psychologically, in a condition to accept rehabilitation when the time comes.
SUMMARY OF DIRECT EXPENDITURES FROM THE $200 MILLION FUND FOR EDUCATION, VOCATIONAL TRAINING,
PROJECTS AND SPECIAL ACTIVITIES
1 January 1951 to 30 June 1954
I January 1951- I July 1951- I July 1952- I July 1953- Total to
Description 30 June 1951 30 June 1952 30 June 1953 30 June 1954 30 June 954
$ $ $ $ $
Primary and secondary
education ........... --- --- --- 2,514,502 2,514,502
. --- 4,890 147,884 92,900 245,674
, planning ...............--- 156,316 452,453 662,630 1,271,399
and higher education ... --- 49,495 265,973 398,696 714,164
Agricultural and Lands
development ........... --- 73,704 182,116 363,360 619,180
Urban housing and
community facilities .. --- 68,435 --- --- 68,435
industrial ........... --- 484,568 514,37 29,670 1,028,616
Placement services ... --- 2,388 39,337 39,812 81,537
Loans, grants, assistance
to individuals ........ 68,892 78,988 24,930 125,767 298,577
unclassified .......... --- 9,471 --- --- 9,471
TOTAL -- PROJECTS 68,892 923,365 1,479,187 1,619,935 4,091,379
TOTAL 68,892 928,255 1,627,071 4,227,337 6,851,555
A total of nineteen special activity programmes were in operation during the fiscal year 1953-1954. $493,745 has been committed and $245,674 spent
and $245,674 spent since the inception of the special activities programme (see definition above).
STATUS OF PROGRAMME AGREEMENTS
as at 30 June 1954
Country and type of agreement
Amoiunt of agreement
30 June 1954
Actual expenditure under terms of programme agreements to
30 June 1994
(a) General economic and agricultural development and vocational training
(b) Yarmuk-Jordan Vally development
General economic and agricultural development and vocational training
General economic and agricultural development in the Sinai and Gaza areas
Originally for termination as at 31 December 1953. Extended for eighteen months to 30 June 1955
Negotiations were under way in June 1954 to extend the agreement for six months.
Negotiations under way to extend agreement to period required fork completion of survey report. An amount of $103,413 was spend in 1951 and 1952 for surveys in the Sinai but not charged against a specific programme agreement.
See definition on page 15. In addition to the above agreements, the Agency has signed an agreement on technical training in Gaza which covers training activities financed by the rehabilitation fund apart from the $30 million agreement with Egypt. Approximately
$500,000 is expected to be committed under the Gaza technical training agreement, with actual commitments as at 30 June 1954 amounting to $300,296, and actual expenditures totalling $105,133.
STATUS OF ALL PROJECTS
During the period 1 July 1953 to 30 June 1954
Including projects not operative under terms of programme agreements
Expenditures and ration reductions are cumulative from date of inception
Estimated number of Rations
rations to be removed to
removed 30 June 1954
Number of projects
Estimated direct cost
Temporary ration months
total expenditure to 30 June 1954 $
Temporary rations months
Description and remarkds
Egypt (including Gaza)
Headquarters and miscellaneous projects
Of the 32 projects in Jordan, 5 are for research, 14 are vocaitonal training projects, 7 for agricultrual development, 2 for industrial and commercial enterprises, 2 for loans, 2 for placement activites.
Includes 1 research project, 11 training projects, 2 agricultural development projects, the loans and grants programme, and 1 placement activites project.
Includes 1 research project, 6 training projects, and the placement services.
Includes commitment of $267,755 and expenditure of $112,819 on the Sinai survey, plus 11 training projects and 1 agricultural project in Gaza.
Loans to migrating refugees-projects now abandoned.
Loans to commercial enterprises.
Includes 3 research projects, 7 special training courses, 2 grants projects, and 6 miscellaneous projects budgeted for less than $1,000 each.
See definition p. 15.
RATION REDUCTIONS RESULTING FROM PROJECT OPERATIONS
For the period from 1 January 1951 to 30 June 1954
Expenditures Ration reduction
Category I January 1951 to 30 June 1954 Permanent Temporary
Research, experimentation, planning ....... 1,271,399 12 10,250
Vocational training ...................... 714,164 889 5,440
Agricultural development ................. 619,180 108 5,585
Industrial and commercial ................ 1,028,616 747 2,283
Assistance to individuals ................ 298,577 2,663 221
Placement ................................ 81,537 2,735 882
Urban housing ............................ 68,435 253 ---
Miscellaneous ............................ 9,471 371 ---
------- ------ ------
TOTAL 4,091,379 7,778 24,661
Temporary ration reductions result from temporary project employment and are reported in terms of "ration months", i.e., the number of individual monthly rations saved.
Compares with 3,271 permanent reductions and 6,122 temporary reductions reported at the end of 1952-1953, indicating that during 1953-1954 there were 4,507 permanent and 18,539 temporary reductions effected.
EDUCATION AND TRAINING
1. The work of the Education and Training Division during the school year 1953-1954 was concerned with consolidating the work of the previous year and the development of new projects. In 1952-1953, many thousands of pupils were admitted to the primary grades by resorting to various expedients in order to provide accommodation. Some classes were housed in tents, others in rented buildings, while in many schools a system of double-shifts was instituted, in which in the same classroom one group of children was taught in the morning and another group in the afternoon. In 1953-1954, in addition to admitting 20,000 new pupils, an extensive building programme was carried on with the objective of providing better school accommodation for all primary classes. The average registration per teacher, which had been very high, was reduced to a manageable size. This necessitated the employment of a considerable number of additional teachers, not only for the increased numbers of pupils, but also for the increased numbers of classes resulting from the reduction in the size of classes.
2. In 1952-1953 many of the classrooms were equipped with desks and benches made of packing-case lumber, while other classrooms had only benches of similar construction. During 1953-1954, thousands of combination desks and benches were provided for the schools. It is hoped that, by the end of the school year 1954-1955, all classes will be accommodated in buildings and all classrooms equipped with desks and benches. In this connexion, it should be emphasized that all buildings and equipment are of the most austere type. This will be appreciated when it is pointed out that the cost of constructing a classroom varies from just over $500 to just under $1,000, depending on the area in which the classroom is built, and that a combination desk-bench to accommodate three pupils costs between $8 and $12.
3. In 1953-1954, for the first time, small grants were paid on behalf of the 60,000 refugee students attending government and private elementary schools. For pupils attending government schools, a grant of $2.50 per pupil was made to cover the cost of books. The grant for pupils in attendance in private schools was $7.04 per pupil to cover the cost of books and fees.
4. The extension of secondary education from 3,413 to 7,127 pupils was achieved by opening a number of secondary classes in Agency schools and by providing grants of $40 per pupil to a limited number of pupils in government and private schools.
5. An analysis of the budget will show that a significant part of the increase in the cost per pupil is due to a disproportionate increase in capital expenditures, for the reasons stated above. Assuming that the Agency's mandate is extended, expenditures on capital account should decrease rapidly until they comprise a very small proportion of the education budget, although a reduction in expenditures cannot be anticipated during the next four years, owing to a probable increase in registration of some 50,000 in the primary classes during that period.
6. One vocational training centre was opened and another nearly completed in 1953-1954. It is anticipated that most of the educational expansion in the next year or two should be in this field, and that a minimum of five vocational training and five agricultural training centres should be the immediate objective. Trained artisans and trained agriculturalists are necessary to ensure the success of economic development and such trained workers are badly needed in the Middle East. There is a desperate shortage of trained teachers and consideration will be given to the establishment of a teacher-training institution to be operated by the Agency, in which at least 200 students could be trained each year. The teacher-training facilities of the area are used to the fullest possible extent but, in common with many countries, the Near East has a great shortage of teacher-training institutions.
2. ELEMENTARY EDUCATION
7. From its inception in 1950, the educational programme of the Agency has been basically concerned with the provision of adequate elementary education for refugee children in the four host countries. The tables at the end of this report show that 90,748 primary pupils and 3,841 secondary pupils attended UNRWA/UNESCO classes during the school year 1953-1954.
8. In general, during the past year, all UNRWA/UNESCO schools functioned normally, except for a few days in winter when strong gales accompanied by heavy rains swept the Middle East and forced some schools to close down.
9. The improvement in material conditions has, however, been maintained and, by the time the next school year opens, comparatively few elementary classes will still be housed in tents. At the close of the last school year there were no tented schools in Gaza, only two in Lebanon, three in Syria and sixteen in Jordan. The number of new school buildings erected or leased by the Agency during the school year 1953-1954 is shown in the following table:
New added to
schools Number of existing Buildings
Area built classrooms schools rented
Gaza ..................... 2 7 59 1
Jordan ................... 8 89 54 83
Lebanon .................. 7 91 -- 24
Syria .................... -- -- 28 38
TOTAL 17 187 141 146
10. As the following table shows, a corresponding improvement in the supply of school furnishings has also been apparent:
Area and desks Tables Blackboards
Gaza ........... 2,000 200 40 Cement wall
Jordan ......... 13,539 591 631 } Ordinary
Lebanon ........ 2,385 121 129 } blackboards
Syria ......... 860 100 120 }
TOTAL 18,784 1,012 920
11. All elementary pupils in UNRWA/UNESCO schools are now supplied with textbooks and stationery and all classes have proper desks and blackboards.
12. Although there were over 2,000 teachers staffing UNRWA/UNESCO schools in 1953-1954, it must be admitted that the majority of these teachers lack proper
qualifications according to accepted standards prevailing elsewhere. The qualifications of 2,019 such teachers, as submitted in January 1954, may be tabulated as follows:
Teachers holding Palestine or London Matriculation or
Baccalaureat certificates (Lebanon and Syria) or
"Taqjihi" (Gaza) or higher ...................................... 643
Teachers with "Brevet", "Thaqafa" and Teacher Lower
Certificate (Palestine equivalent to third secondary
standard) ........................................................ 596
Teachers who have completed second secondary ....................... 549
Teachers who have completed first secondary ........................ 145
Teachers who have completed elementary education ................... 86
13. Attempts have been made to attract experienced teachers to the service of the Agency by equating salaries with those prevailing in the host countries. Many teachers, however, still prefer to go abroad to other countries in the Arab world, such as Libya, Bahrain, Kuwait and Iraq, where higher salaries and better working conditions are obtainable.
14. Several measures have been introduced to improve the technical efficiency of the teaching staff. General works on pedagogy have now been placed on the shelves of school libraries in nearly all schools. The number of inspectors has been increased and they make a special point, on their visits to schools, of advising less experienced teachers on their problems. Lastly, increasing emphasis has been placed on the teachers' summer refresher courses which have been organized in all areas for men and women teachers separately. These courses vary in length from five to six weeks, depending on local circumstances, and are specially designed to deal with the needs of the less well qualified and less experienced teachers.
15. Considerable efforts have been made during the past year to foster elementary education for girls and to open schools for girls in those localities where no facilities for their education previously existed. This has resulted in a fairly steady increase in the number of schools for girls as well as in the total number of girls attending UNRWA/UNESCO schools. Already a fairly large number of girls attend the lower classes at the elementary level of education. Their numbers decrease, however, progressively and at present only a small percentage complete their elementary education.
16. The following table shows the classification of UNRWA/UNESCO schools as in May 1954:
Area Co-educational schools schools Total
Gaza .................. -- 24 14 38
Jordan ................ 24 50 44 118
Lebanon ............... 34 1 -- 35
Syria ................. 23 15 13 51
TOTAL 81 90 71 242
17. The following table shows the total number of girls attending schools in each area over the period 1951-1954:
June June June May
1951 1952 1953 1954
Gaza ................ 5,357 5,410 6,189 8,652
Jordan .............. 4,349 4,526 10,035 14,249
Lebanon ............. 1,029 2,076 3,169 4,154
Syria ............... 941 727 2,074 3,585
TOTAL 11,676 12,739 21,467 30,640
Percentage of girls
in schools to
total attendance ... 27 26.6 30.3 32.3
18. Attention is drawn to table 2 appended to the present annex showing attendance per class in each area.
19. Perhaps the most significant development of the past year regarding the Agency's education programme in general has been the elaboration of a scheme to provide a more diversified form of education for pupils completing the elementary stage. This scheme, which is in accordance with modern pedagogic practice, will establish a thirty-hour per week course, of which fifteen hours will be devoted to academic subjects and fifteen to manual training in woodwork and metalwork. The fundamental object of this new "activity programme", as it is called, is to help to instil into the coming generation of Palestine refugees an appreciation for work that demands co-ordination of hand and brain and the value of that particular form of training in a well-balanced educational system.
20. A special training centre for future teachers in non-academic education has been set up in Gaza. It will train forty such teachers before 15 August 1954, and they in turn will teach their newly acquired skills to 2,000 pupils studying in twenty separate units in the Gaza area during the coming school year. It is planned to extend the scheme, with such modifications as experience may show to be necessary, to other areas and to project the programme into the fifth and sixth elementary grades.
3. SECONDARY EDUCATION
21. Pending the establishment of a system of primary education, the Agency felt it could not extend its educational facilities significantly into the field of secondary education. However, as the number of pupils who completed their elementary education increased, a number of secondary classes were started in various places.
22. By 1953-1954, it was felt that the time had come to extend secondary education to a limited number of promising pupils. Several more secondary classes were started in UNRWA/UNESCO schools, and two secondary schools were established in Syria and one in Lebanon for boys. Refugee children living in many towns and villages might attend either government or private secondary classes, and a new policy was adopted by the Agency at the beginning of 1953-1954 for helping such pupils. A grant of $40 was made for each pupil possessing a valid ration card, the number of pupils to enjoy this grant being limited to 5 per cent of the elementary school registration.
23. Tables 2 and 3 attached show the number of pupils who attend secondary classes in UNRWA/UNESCO, government and private schools.
4. UNIVERSITY EDUCATION
24. In order to develop among the Palestine refugees a cadre of trained and educated young persons who can be expected to become leaders of the community in the future, 200 scholarships were made available to students in universities in Beirut, Cairo, Alexandria and Damascus.
25. The amount of the scholarship awarded covered the cost of tuition, books, and board and lodging. All those benefiting from these scholarships had to be ration-holders, and were selected on the basis of their academic achievements, students in their final university year receiving priority. The scholarship-holders were registered in the following courses: medicine, pharmacy, engineering, veterinary science, agriculture, commerce, and arts and sciences.
5. FUNDAMENTAL EDUCATION
26. The technique of fundamental education as evolved at the Dikwaneh Centre near Beirut has proved its value to refugees who had been living in camps for six frustrated years and materially altered their attitude towards their surroundings. Encouraged by the success of the experiment, it was decided to extend fundamental education to other areas and to open four centres each in Lebanon and Syria, and six each in Gaza and Jordan.
27. A training centre was accordingly opened at Kalandia, where the technique of fundamental education was developed and the supervisors of the centres to be opened in Jordan were trained. After about two months' training they went out and started to work in the other five centres in that country. Affiliated to every centre in Jordan and Gaza there is a separate women's centre. During the winter some 5,000 refugees were enrolled in the Jordan centres, and 2,500 in the Gaza centres.
28. The fundamental education supervisors were given in-service training whenever possible and their progress was closely watched by the Fundamental Education Officer. It is proposed to open a fully-fledged craft centre for women at Rimal (Gaza), for which preparations are being made.
29. A training centre has been opened at the Palestine Institute in Syria and about 300 people are enrolled. The centre is popular and trainees have recently been brought in from other centres.
30. Dikwaneh continued to undertake experimental work and the craft centres established there (shoe-making, tailoring, carpentry) are producing goods which have begun to find a market. Scouting has been introduced, and the response has been excellent. Supervisors for other centres have been trained at Dikwaneh, and they in turn have opened three more centres in Lebanon.
31. The resistance to fundamental education is disappearing, and during the coming year it is hoped to consolidate much of what has been achieved so far.
6. VOCATIONAL TRAINING
32. The Vocational Training Centre at Kalandia is an UNRWA project; it began operations towards the end of December 1953 although the official opening did not take place until July 1954. It provides courses for the following: electricians, radio mechanics, wiremen, fitter mechanics, blacksmiths, welders, plumbers, carpenters, builders, draughtsmen and automotive engineers, and aims at producing craftsmen trained to a level considerably higher than that at present found in the area. Included in the staff are four experts supplied by the International Labour Organisation, namely a senior adviser, and experts in electricity, mechanical engineering, carpentry and building. The director is a Palestinian. Future prospects for the centre are encouraging. The number of trainees is 127, and it is proposed to increase this figure in the near future to 208.
33. The Vocational Training Centre at Gaza differs from the one at Kalandia in that it is not a residential establishment. It will cater for similar trades and will include a foundry. It also has a first-class automotive department which has been giving courses for some time. Equipment for this centre is on the way, and it should not be long before the centre is in full operation. The workshop buildings are better than those at Kalandia, since they are wholly constructed of concrete (including the roofs); whereas at Kalandia the workshops are Nissen type with corrugated iron roofs. The Gaza centre will cater for about 200 trainees and the courses will last from six months to two years. The staff will include four international experts engaged by the Agency but with qualifications similar to those of the experts at Kalandia.
34. The Hazmieh Vocational Training School at Beirut is directed by the Maronite Fathers. One hundred and four refugee boys are being trained in this centre as electricians, carpenters, blacksmiths and fitters. The school is at present finding it difficult to secure good instructors.
35. In addition to these major projects, a number of smaller but no less significant projects are in operation. The following table shows the number of trainees undergoing vocational training:
Teacher training .......................................... 85
Engineering trades ........................................ 111
Secretarial ............................................... 308
Health nurses, pharmacists, etc............................ 130
Agricultural .............................................. 64
Dressmaking ............................................... 36
Civil aviation ............................................ 5
Statistics ................................................ 2
7. EDUCATIONAL BROADCASTS
36. It has been felt for some time that educational broadcasts would have a considerable effect on the refugees, scattered as they are, many of them in isolated and remote camps or villages. With this in view, arrangements were made with the "Shark al Adna", the Near East Broadcasting Station in Cyprus, to put out a series of broadcasts directed to the refugees. The programmes were written by the Palestinian staff of the station during their spare time. They have now been going out for nearly two years. They consist of short
twenty-minute educational broadcasts. Children from the various schools are taken to the studio, where they record a programme which is prepared under the supervision of their teachers. One hundred and thirty-six receiving sets have so far been installed in the various UNRWA/UNESCO schools and fundamental education centres.
GENERAL STATISTICS SHOWING DEVELOPMENTS IN UNRWA/UNESCO SCHOOLS, 1950-1954
UNRWA/ Number of boys Number of girls Number of teachers Expenditure
UNESCO in in Total in on
schools attendance attendance attendance service 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
June 1952 126 35,044 12,739 47,783 955 595,000
June 1953 157 49,331 21,467 70,798 1,536 829,000
242 63,949 30,640 94,589 2,167 2,514,500
At this time the twenty-two schools at Gaza were run by the American Friends Society.
These statistics are those at the end of May 1954, as schools in the Gaza area closed for the summer vacation on that date.
UNRWA/UNESCO SCHOOLS, SHOWING NUMBER OF PUPILS PER CLASS AS AT THE END OF MAY 19541. ELEMENTARY CLASSES
Preparatory 1st elementary 2nd elementary 3rd elementary 3th elementary 5th elementary 6th elementary total
2. SECONDARY CLASSES
1st secondary 2nd secodary 3rd secondary 4th secondary Total
TOTAL .......Elementary classes ........... 60,347 30,401 90,748
Secondary classes ........... 3,602 239 3,841
63,949 30,640 94,589
DISTRIBUTION OF PALESTINE REFUGEE CHILDREN RECEIVING EDUCATION AS AT MAY 1954
Number of UNRWA/
Total number assisted refugees in elementary classes government schools
Total number assisted refugees in secondary classes gov. schools
Total number assisted refugees in elementary classes private schools
Total number assisted refugees in secondary classes private schools
total number of refugees receiving education
Estimated number of refugee population March 1954
in 21 schools
pupils in 145
in 35 schools
in 33 schools
The highest registration was reached in December 1953 when 96,417 pupils were registered in elementary and secondary classes in UNRWA/UNESCO schools. The decline in registration between December and June is mainly due to pupils being withdrawn to assist with the harvest.
The number of government schools in Syria attended by refugee pupils is not available.
1. The organization of the Health Division, both at headquarters and in the field, has remained substantially the same as that described in the Director's annual report to the eighth session of the General Assembly (A/2470 and Add.1). The World Health Organization, by agreement with UNRWA, assumes responsibility for the technical direction of the health programme by designating and providing certain of the senior staff, including the Chief Medical Officer of the Agency (see annex H).
2. Table 1 shows the personnel establishment as at 15 June 1954 according to the country, occupation, and whether international or area staff. The column "Others" includes administrative, clerical, laboratory, pharmaceutical and supply personnel as well as sanitary, supplementary feeding and milk distribution personnel above the labour category. The table includes only personnel on the UNRWA payroll and not the hundreds of workers at hospitals subsidized by the Agency which provide services to the refugees.
PERSONNEL AS AT 15 JUNE 1954
eadquarters Lebanon Syria Jordan Gaza Total
Doctors: international.... 3 1 1 1 1 7
Doctors: area............. 0 18 15 39 13 85
Dentists: area............ 0 1 2 7 2 12
Nurses: international..... 1 1 1 2 1 6
Nurses: area.............. 1 16 14 32 19 82
Nurses: practical, aid,
midwives: area........... 0 42 36 118 49 245
international ........... 1 0 0 0 0 1
Sanitation officers: area. 0 1 1 3 1 6
area .................... 0 2 2 2 2 8
Pharmacists: area......... 1
1 1 2 1 6
Others: international..... 3
0 0 1 0 4
.............. 9 12 11 208 34 274
.............. 0 21 10 51 40 122
.............. 0 26 6 33 18 83
Labour category: area
.... 0 45 24 0 75 144
Labour category: area
.... 0 93 53 325 396 867
Labour category: area
.... 0 132 112 479 225 948
Sanitation and camp maintenance.
Supplementary feeding and milk distribution.
3. CLINICS AND HOSPITALS
3. Visits to the eighty-one clinics and out-patient departments throughout the countries in which the Agency operates during the twelve-month period under review are shown in the following table:
ATTENDANCES, 16 JUNE 1953 -- 15 JUNE 1954
Lebanon Syria Jordan Gaza Total
... 100,000 86,000 441,000 300,000
cases ........ 426,578 363,042 571,915 385,578 1,747,113
Lebanon Syria Jordan Gaza Total
skin .............. 216,560 225,537 680,846 591,324 1,714,267
Eye cases .......... 216,759 110,208 912,930 760,587 2,000,484
School health ...... 15,030 48,543 142,321 640,030 845,924
Maternal ........... 12,184 14,733 13,692 55,259 95,868
Infants ............ 68,490 70,758 149,447 165,407 454,102
Venereal disease 1,159 3,437 940 476 6,012
Dental ............. 40,218 45,448 31,735 27,924 145,325
Figures are based on field health officers' monthly reports for the period ending 15 June 1954 and show the number of refugees and residents served by UNRWA medical services, but do not represent total number of refugees in respective countries.
Includes services to refugees by Public Health Department and the Red Crescent, Gaza--also services by UNRWA to Gaza non-refugees.
The number of hospital beds maintained or reserved for the Agency as of June 1954 was as follows:
Lebanon ........................................... 326
Syria ............................................. 180
Jordan ............................................ 908
Gaza .............................................. 638
4. MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTH
5. The total numbers of attendances at the infant health and maternity centres during the period under review are 454,102 at the former (monthly average 37,842) and 95,868 at the latter (monthly average 7,822). In all countries there is a constant effort to increase the knowledge and raise the standard of the childbirth attendants by regular inspection of their
midwifery bags, by lectures on the importance of sterility in dealing with confinements, and by encouraging their attendance at the infant health and ante-natal clinics and camp maternity wards where they assist the nurse in charge and at the same time receive practical training in their work.
6. Throughout the various countries in-service training for nurses in maternal and child health work has been effected in part by sending nurses to special infant health centres for a short period of training in order that they may then be able to improve the standard of their work on return to their duty stations.
7. All pregnant women attending the ante-natal clinics undergo routine examination at regular intervals. A Kahn test is taken at first attendance and if found to be positive, the woman undergoes the established standard treatment with penicillin. Follow-up serological examinations are carried out and, where possible, other members of the family are investigated.
8. During the year, the Chief of the Nutrition Section of WHO and the Senior Supervisory Officer of the Nutrition Division of FAO each visited the Agency areas and conducted nutritional surveys on two occasions. The state of nutrition of the refugees was found to be not unsatisfactory except for one group, i.e., those between the ages of six months and two years, a high proportion of whom appeared to be suffering from chronic diarrhoea, which was felt to be due to insufficient protein in their diet. The trouble often started with an acute attack of diarrhoea, possibly accompanying an infectious disease such as measles, but with the recovery of the precipitating cause, the diarrhoea did not cease but showed a tendency to become chronic. The importance of skim milk in the diet was stressed and the introduction of a local wheat product named
a chick-pea product, into the diet as a rich source of vegetable oil proteins was urged. This recommendation has been adopted and
is now one of the items of the hospital ration scale and is gradually being introduced as one of the standard items in the basic ration scale. In a more recent survey some evidence was found among school children of cheilosis and angular stomatitis, and some vitamin A deficiency as shown by the presence of Bitot spots on the cornea. Cod-liver oil and fish-oil capsules are distributed to the infants and children up to the age of ten years, but distribution difficulties or an unwillingness on the part of the children to take the oil may easily lead to a definite lack of vitamin A in some persons or groups resulting in the clinical appearance of the signs of the deficiency. In order to deal with this situation it will be necessary to ensure a wider and more equable distribution of the cod-liver oil and fish-oil capsules and to provide fresh vegetables through supplementary feeding.
9. The basic ration is given in the following table, and shows the alteration this year by the addition of
in substitution for part of the former rice ration.
Commodity Grammes per month Calories per month
Flour ...................... 10,000 35,000
Pulses ..................... 600 2,100
Oils and fats .............. 375 3,300
Sugar ...................... 600 2,300
Rice ....................... 250 900
Burghol .................... 275 800
Added in winter: Dates...... 500 1,400
Pulses..... 300 1,000
10. Under the supplementary feeding programme, a hot meal including fresh vegetables (or fruit) as well as some animal protein is supplied to medically-selected beneficiaries for six days a week for a period of two (or, in Jordan, three) months. At the end of this period each beneficiary is again medically examined. The milk distribution programme consists of the reconstitution and distribution in liquid form of dried whole milk to infants under one year, and dried skim milk to those in the one to fifteen years age-group and to pregnant and lactating mothers.
11. In order to allow a greater proportion of fresh food to be introduced into the supplementary meals, the quantities of certain items on the supplementary feeding ration scale have been reduced and the value of the food saved has now been added to the cash allowance for fresh food, thus allowing a more liberal quantity and more balanced menus to be provided. It has been possible to supply throughout the year a monthly issue of extra
dry rations to many pregnant women and sometimes to nursing mothers. Extra dry rations for non-hospitalized tuberculosis patients (i.e., double the basic scale) are provided.
12. The amount of rations available for supplementary feeding is equivalent to approximately 6 per cent of the total rations issued. One important factor, however, prevents the full utilization of the rations available, namely, the physical limitations of the existing feeding centres, which are not capable of dealing with the full number of medically registered beneficiaries. It is hoped, however, to obtain certain new centres during the coming year, particularly in Jordan where in certain camps and outlying areas there are inadequate feeding centres or none at all. It is usually in such areas that the nutritional needs are greatest, and it is especially important for weaning infants and the medically registered cases to receive supplementary meals. A feeding centre development programme is planned for next year.
6. SPECIAL PROGRAMMES
13. Tuberculosis control activities have continued in all areas. Improvements have been the establishment of a mobile tuberculosis control unit in Lebanon, the use of the Government Tuberculosis Centre in Aleppo, Syria, increased staff in the tuberculosis hospital in Gaza, and the BCG campaign conducted in Jordan by WHO, which will include the refugee population. All modern chemo-therapeutic agents are available for the use of patients whether in hospital or ambulatory. A survey in Gaza showed a high incidence (94 per cent) of positive tuberculin tests which can be attributed to the BCG campaign there in 1949. The most unsatisfactory aspect of the situation is the continued and almost total lack of tuberculosis hospital beds for refugees in Jordan, a situation of great hazard to public health. For the past two years the Agency has earmarked funds to remedy this situation, but has been unable to utilize them owing to the inability of the Government to provide suitable premises. It is hoped that this difficulty will be overcome shortly.
14. Mass immunization campaigns against diphtheria, smallpox and the enteric fevers have been carried out among children, both of the school and pre-school age groups. In all about 700,000 such injections or vaccinations have been given and it is anticipated that a much reduced programme can be planned with safety for next year.
15. Venereal disease control activities have continued during the year. The incidence of syphilis, based on routine infectious disease reports and serological test results, shows a rate of between 0.5 and 0.9 per 1,000. The three million unit standard treatment has now been amended in accordance with the recommendations of the WHO Expert Committee and the average case now receives double the dosage previously used. The Venereal Disease Research Laboratory test is now used as a control for the Kahn test and periodic comparative checkings are now made on sample sera from all areas.
16. The nursing services continue to provide nursing staff in the numerous hospitals and maternity centres and in the eighty-one clinics operated by the Agency. In addition, the public health nursing service is an integral part of the special clinics, pre-natal, infant health, school examination, venereal disease and tuberculosis control and others. The public health nurses assist in the special feeding programme, in home visiting and in the immunization campaigns.
7. HEALTH EDUCATION
17. Following discussions that had taken place during the previous year between the Agency and WHO, an agreement was signed under which WHO undertook to provide ten fellowships in health education for a period of six months, together with training materials and equipment, as well as the services, for a period of two years, of a specialist in health education for the purpose of directing the training course. The Agency, on the other hand, agreed to provide sufficient funds to cover the cost of continuing for a further period of six months the training of the students selected in the field. It is anticipated that the health educators trained under this project will play an important role in the campaign for the education in health and hygiene of the widespread groups of refugees. A co-operative effort is planned whereby the health educators will work as members of a health team with all other professional health workers, school teachers, community and social service leaders, voluntary agency personnel and government officials.
18. Of the treaty diseases (cholera, yellow fever, smallpox, typhus and louse-borne relapsing fever) no cases occurred among refugees during the year. The cases of relapsing fever reported are considered, on epidemiological grounds, to be tick-borne infections. A list of the infectious diseases recorded among the refugees for the period 14 June 1953 to 12 June 1954 is given in the following table:
from 14 June 1953 to 12 June 1954
Lebanon Syria Jordan Gaza Total
Population at risk
........ 100,000 86,000 476,000 270,000 932,000
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 0 0 0
Typhus (endemic) .......... 0 0 0 0 0
.......... 0 2 84 2 88
Diphtheria ................ 2 21 51 3 77
Measles ................... 537 429 1,138 97 2,201
Whooping cough ............ 1,931 357 3,083 720 6,091
Chicken pox................ 156 27 719 1,642 2,544
Mumps ..................... 182 255 1,032 26 1,495
Meningitis ................ 8 0 39 34 81
Poliomyelitis ............. 1 2 22 1 26
(Para A & B) ............ 174 179 368 289 1,010
Dysentery ................. 34,094 21,472 23,599 14,105 93,270
Malaria ................... 3,327 4,626 21,180 34 29,167
Bilharziasis .............. 0 0 3 115 118
Lebanon Syria Jordan Gaza Total
Ancylostomiasis ........... 11 0 0 13 24
Trachoma .................. 13,395 5,438 163,047 17,494 199,374
Conjunctivitis ............ 37,872 15,731 129,639 24,655 207,897
Tuberculosis .............. 235 103 949 232 1,519
Syphilis .................. 53 45 109 286 493
These figures represent the number of refugees whether registered or not and also residents (as in Gaza) concerning whom UNRWA's field health officers obtain records of infectious diseases incidence. The balance of Gaza residents at risk are reported upon by the Public Health Department.
These cases are considered, on epidemiological grounds, to be tick-borne infections.
19. A continuous but seasonally intensive prophylactic campaign against diphtheria and the typhoid group kept these diseases under control. Among children's diseases the incidence of whooping cough increased and this has led to the organization of a vaccination campaign specially directed to the youngest age groups. The incidence of other diseases was not materially affected except clinical malaria, the reported cases of which dropped during the year by about 9,500 cases below the figure for the past year. The leading prevalent infectious diseases are still the dysenteries and the eye infections. The high incidence of these diseases is explained by the fact that their control is mainly within the fields of health education and environmental sanitation, the former of which has still to be established on a comprehensive basis.
9. INSECT AND MALARIA CONTROL
20. The main objective of the insect control programme is to prevent insect-borne diseases such as the anopheles-borne plasmodioses, the fly-borne dysenteries and eye infections, and the louse-borne typhus and relapsing fever. Insects such as the bedbug and the human flea have to be controlled, too, in refugee settlements in order to prevent the nuisances which otherwise they cause to the residents. Such an insect control programme is always welcomed by the people and serves as a means of encouraging other sanitary and health activities. At the same time it acts as a method of health education by
spreading amongst the community a knowledge of the role of insects in the transmission of disease, and the role of the communal effort in controlling them.
21. Malaria, once rated as the chief incapacitating disease among the refugees, is now losing its hold as its prevalence progressively declines. The follow-up of clinical malaria records from all UNRWA polyclinics in the different countries month after month gives us an idea about the incidence of this disease among refugees attending these clinics. In the following table the percentages of clinical malaria among refugees attending UNRWA clinics are shown:
Country May June July August September October November December January February March April
1952-1953 . 1.3 1.5 1.5 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.6 1.1 1.05 0.97 1.1 0.8
1953-1954 . 0.13 1.04 1.2 1.5 1.13 1.5 0.77 0.53 0.23 0.33 0.48 0.62
1952-1953 . 0.3 1.0 0.8 0.7 1.0 0.84 1.4 0.9 0.4 0.27 0.2 0.3 1953-1954 . 0.29 0.3 0.35 3.4 2.6 3.4 1.8 0.97 0.74 0.48 1.04 1.2
1952-1953 9.3 8.9 10.6 6.4 10.5 13.0 18.5 12.7 8.6 6.1 4.4 3.8 1953-1954 5.17 5.8 8.5 8.25 7.49 8.25 6.02 5.07 3.29 3.04 3.3 3.6
1952-1953 2.2 3.1 4.6 5.4 5.0 4.5 5.6 4.4 3.7 2.9 2.5 2.3
1953-1954 . 1.9 2.0 2.1 2.35 2.67 2.35 2.19 1.0 1.18 1.32 1.5 1.7
1952-1953 . 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.01 0.01 0.05 0.00 0.03 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
1953-1954 . 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.01 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.00 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
22. The above table shows a seasonal decline of malaria incidence during 1953-1954 as compared with that of 1952-1953. This has been most apparent inJordan, where the Yarmuk-Jordan anti-malaria project has had a beneficial effect.
23. In addition to the DDT-residual spraying of the malarious settlements, an intensive weekly larvicidal campaign covering the Yarmuk-Jordan Valley continued for eight months, as well as minor larvicidal work along dangerous streams running beside the important camps in Lebanon (Nahr el-Bared), Syria(Khan esh-Shieh) and Jordan (Zerka). In Gaza, the larvicidal work is mainly directed against nuisance mosquitoes as no anophelines have been located since their eradication in 1949.
24. The 1953 Yarmuk-Jordan anti-malaria project was initially planned for one year to control malaria in one of the most hyperendemic malarious areas of the world. This campaign was based on the experience of UNRWA's epidemiologist over the previous three years of malaria control in the neighbouring Arab countries. A staff of seven malaria supervisors trained by UNRWA, together with twenty-one foremen and about eighty control labourers and three drivers, all selected from among refugees, carried out successfully, and for the first time in history in the Jordan Valley, one of the most difficult anti-malaria operations conducted under trying climatological, political and social conditions. The control of malaria in this Valley has resulted in increased interest and the establishment of refugees in these areas. Not a single new case of malaria occurred among the United States Mission labour crew working in the Valley, nor among the government irrigation and agricultural crews, nor among the antimalaria workers. Infant blood surveys showed that malaria was transmitted in areas near extensive rice cultivation on the Syrian side of the Yarmuk, opposite the uncontrolled Israel portion of the Jordan Valley and near extensive swampy areas which could not be dealt with efficiently in the first year of the operation. The anti-malaria work consisted principally of a larvicidal campaign planned to cover weekly, during eight months of the year, every potential breeding water with a 2 per cent DDT solution in oil to which a spreading agent was added. The division of the whole area into fifty-six zones and the location by mapping of every water channel, spring, pool and puddle in each zone, the training of the labourers and foremen in their duties
and the substitution of those who proved to be inefficient, the development of a reporting system for each category of staff, and another for checking the work based on entomological and epidemiological follow-up surveys, are also to be listed among the very important aspects of the year's operations.
25. The details of the Yarmuk-Jordan malaria control activities of 1953-1954 are summarized in the following table:
Number of cubic
treated with oil 2 per cent DDT oil metres dug metres
(in eight months) used (litres) as drains up
25,460,900 62,244 40,017 3,288,588
The success of last year's anti-malaria programme has prompted both UNRWA and the Government of Jordan to sign an agreement for a five-year anti-malaria project involving the expenditure of about $404,000 in the Jordan-Yarmuk Valley and the other adjoining valleys.
26. In the meantime investigations and trials are being conducted of new and effective insecticides to overcome the increasing resistance of flies to insecticides to which they have been accustomed. This programme was restricted to refugee camps and consisted of weekly spraying of the places highly attractive to flies and the sources of fly-breeding with a 4 per cent chlordane solution in oil or suspension. The milk and feeding centres in fly-infested camps are sprayed daily with a space-spray. The problem of fly-breeding will eventually be solved only by an effective health education programme, by developing a fly-proof latrine which will be used by the population, and by the efforts of an efficient and technically competent field sanitation staff. Progress in these three directions is already being made but it will take some time before noticeable results are obtained.
27. It is no small achievement to have maintained almost a million refugees living under hard and crowded conditions completely free from louse-borne typhus infection during a one-year period. The credit must be attributed to the effectiveness of the 10 per cent DDT dust and to competent field sanitation staff, who are fully conscious of the dangers of a disease that has been the scourge of the Arab countries for centuries. Concern has been felt about the development by lice of resistance to DDT, but the results of certain insecticidal tests which the Agency has carried out on local lice have largely dissipated it. In the delousing campaign over 400,000 persons were dusted and 11.3 tons of DDT 10 per cent were expended.
10. ENVIRONMENTAL SANITATION
28. The Health Division is responsible for the maintenance of proper sanitation services in the organized camps and certain other Agency centres. The environmental sanitation programmes are conducted by the field camp maintenance and sanitation officers under the technical direction of a public health engineer (WHO). The number of sanitary labourers is approximately one per 400 refugees in camps, although there are individual wide variations from this figure. This staff is actively engaged in the maintenance of latrine facilities, the supervision of bath houses and garbage disposal services, the hygiene of camp areas, shops, bakeries, etc., the control of adequate and safe water supplies and the insect control programme activities.
29. During the year under review a system has been established for the routine bacteriological examination of camp water supplies. In general, the water supplies throughout the year have been adequate and safe.
30. Bath-house facilities have been extended in certain areas and are becoming more widely accepted. Of major importance during the year has become the replacement programme of pit latrines by septic latrines, especially in Lebanon and Gaza. It is planned to continue this activity and to extend it to Jordan.
11. MEDICAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING
31. The epidemiologist participated in the International Congress of Tropical Medicine and Malaria at Istanbul where he read a paper relating to the malaria control programme in the Jordan Valley. A number of the Agency health officers took part and read papers at the Congress of the Lebanese-French Society of Medicine. The fourth Middle East Medical Assembly was held at the American University of Beirut between 9 and 11 April 1954. Over seventy Agency doctors took part in this excellent post-graduate training Assembly. The Agency subsidized some of the administrative costs of the Assembly as well as assisting the medical faculty of the University in its planning and direction.
32. World Health Day, 7 April 1954, this year devoted to nursing, was celebrated by the Agency in all the countries in which it operates, in conjunction with the various local health authorities. The main programme was undertaken in the Festival Hall of the Augusta Victoria Hospital in Jerusalem.
33. The year 1953-1954 has again been an active one in the field of training para-medical personnel. The list of training projects shown in table 7 gives a picture of the wide variety of the types of professional workers undergoing training in the health field. The table includes projects either in progress or completed during the period under review.
Type of course
Health education ................ 12 10
General nursing ................. 36 76
Mental nursing .................. 36 2
Midwives ........................ 18 7
Tuberculosis nursing ............ 9 3
Medical orderlies ............... 9 12
Ophthalmic orderlies ............ 3 10
Childbirth attendants ........... 6/9 16
Laboratory technicians .......... 12/24 15
Malaria technicians ............. 3 5
Pharmacy attendants ............. 9 24
Sanitary sub-inspectors ......... 6/12 24
All categories 204
34. The health education training project which the Agency is conducting in conjunction with WHO has previously been referred to in the present report. General nursing training continues in the Augusta Victoria Hospital, Jerusalem, in co-operation with the Lutheran World Federation, in the Syrian University Hospital, in the National School of Nursing, Beirut, and in the former Church Missionary Hospital in Gaza.
35. In addition to the trainees listed in table 7 who are in established Agency training courses, a number of individuals are benefiting from Agency or other scholarships in the health field.
12. MEDICAL AND SANITARY SUPPLIES
36. One major change has occurred during the year in the procurement of medical supplies. In the past this had been handled by WHO, but in July 1953 arrangements were made with UNICEF for that agency to procure medical supplies from abroad. During the period under review, supplies to a total value of $221,423 have been received including donations from UNICEF valued at $31,750. Although shortages of certain drugs occurred periodically in the different countries, in general it can be said that the medical supplies obtained either from headquarters or by local purchases were adequate in meeting the needs of the clinics and hospitals. In all areas, central medical supplies warehouses combined with pharmacies have now been established and this procedure has improved the distribution system.
1. The function of the Welfare Division is to provide supplementary care where it is most needed; this may take the form of help to individuals in emergencies, the provision of recreational facilities in camps, occupational activities for women and girls and (until May 1954) supplementary feeding.
2. In all its welfare work the Agency is greatly assisted not only by the complementary programmes of the voluntary agencies, but also by special donations from individuals or Governments. For instance, during the past year, the late King Ibn Saud and his representatives donated money and clothing to refugees in all the host countries. These donations were distributed by UNRWA welfare officers with the co-operation of the local authorities.
3. The Agency has also been assisted by the specialized agencies and by the United Nations itself. The United Nations Technical Assistance Administration
welfare Adviser in the area has made a detailed study of the Agency's welfare work, and his recommendations have now been largely adopted. These included improved liaison with voluntary agencies, the institution of special programmes, such as arts and crafts centres, and the training of field welfare workers.
2. THE AGENCY'S WELFARE PROGRAMME
4. Towards the end of the financial year responsibility for the supplementary feeding and milk programmes was transferred to the Health Division, it being recognized that these activities play an important part in preventing illness. They are described more fully in annex E, where the reasons for their necessity are explained; Division until May 1954, the statistics are included here.
5. Milk has been distributed to children and pregnant and nursing women during the past year, mainly in liquid form, although a small number of refugees who live in remote villages have received powdered milk. The daily average of beneficiaries during the month of May 1954 is shown below:
Number of Number of of daily
Country centres workers beneficiaries
Lebanon .......... 71 58 48,854
Syria ............ 31 72 44,058
Jordan ........... 97 334 160,258
Gaza ............. 12 108 56,762
TOTAL 211 572 309,932
Hot mid-day meals
6. The provision of supplementary feeding in the form of hot mid-day meals is designed to assist certain categories of refugees who are in need of special food, either on temporary medical grounds or because they are infants and do not receive basic rations.
Number of beneficiaries
Total number of
Country centres 0-2 years Others
Lebanon .......... 25 880 5,430 6,310
Syria ............ 14 488 2,100 2,588
Jordan ........... 60 3,233 17,975 21,208
Gaza ............. 17 3,007 8,834 11,841
TOTAL 116 7,608 34,339 41,947
Aid to special groups
7. The assistance given to hardship cases ranges from the provision of artificial limbs, spectacles or other aids that might assist a refugee to lead a normal life and ultimately to become independent, to the placing of orphans, blind children or the aged in suitable institutions. It also includes encouragement, help and advice in cases of personal difficulties. An average of some 6,800 interviews are held by welfare workers with refugees every month, and considerable progress has been made in this type of work.
8. In this field also there is constant co-operation with the voluntary agencies, which are often able to assist by the provision of a specific item or of funds to enable a serious case to be treated by specialists, or by the donation of tools and equipment to enable a refugee to resume his trade.
9. A good example of the help given by UNRWA itself to special categories is the welfare project for the rehabilitation of blind refugee boys. This provides for the admission of fourteen blind orphans into the Home for the Blind run by the Lutheran World Federation in Jerusalem. There they are provided not only with board and lodging, but also with instruction in Braille and in a trade which will enable them to earn their living.
10. In emergencies such as severe storms or floods, or attacks on frontier villages, welfare workers are usually the first on the scene to help those affected. The outstanding example of prompt action of this kind during the past year was the work done immediately after the seven-hour attack on Qibya Village on 14 October 1953 in which sixty-seven persons were killed (including thirteen refugees) and many others were rendered homeless. For four days the UNRWA staff were the only helpers on the spot in the ruined village, and the welfare kitchen at the nearest refugee camp produced hot meals for over 600 persons who had taken refuge there. Nearly 1,000 blankets, one and a half tons of flour as well as quantities of lentils, rice, fats, soap and milk were distributed to the victims. On 19 October, the Lutheran World Federation was able to send a mobile canteen to Qibya, and from then onwards Agency assistance was confined to the refugee families affected.
11. The recreational programme, which caters for both adults and children, consists of organized sports for boys and young men, clubs for adults, public lectures, films, night classes, libraries, play centres for children, and the provision of a place (even if it is only a tent) where the inhabitants of refugee camps can read newspapers, listen to the radio and hold discussions.
12. There are twenty-three welfare centres in the four countries, which are regularly used by over 30,000 persons, while some 8,500 make use of the nine-teen libraries and reading rooms.
13. As well as Scouts, Cubs and Rovers, of which there are now some 4,900, Girl Guide troops have been formed during the past year under the aegis of the Welfare Division in Lebanon and Gaza. The World Bureau of Girl Guides Associations donated 150 pairs of sandals for the troop in the Gaza area to complete the uniforms originally donated by the Dallas Girls Scouts (Texas, USA). The Gaza Girl Guides were delighted with their uniforms and sandals, which enabled them for the first time to take part in the parade on Gaza Sports Day. Some teams from the sports clubs in Gaza went to the Pan-Arab Sports Convention arranged by the Arab League at Alexandria in July 1953. They did well in football, basketball, weight-lifting, and track and field events, and some of them returned with prizes.
Arts and crafts
14. This type of activity is organized for the benefit of women and girls, and the original sewing centres have now been extended to include not only communal projects for the production of saleable goods but also the giving of instruction in domestic subjects, such as the preparation of food, and in first aid and hygiene. Attendance has increased considerably over the past year and many of the centres have proved so popular that they now have a waiting list.
15. The centres where girls are taught to do plain sewing and dressmaking have also fulfilled a very useful function, since the pupils in the course of their instruction have produced layettes, overalls for school children (which is mandatory in some countries), hospital pyjamas and various other items for the welfare and medical programmes.
16. In addition to this purely instructional activity, several projects for the production of saleable articles have been initiated to enable women and girls to provide a supplementary income for their families. Gaza has continued to produce embroidery, the sale of which has realized some $12,500 during the year; Syria will concentrate on the production of leather articles; Lebanon on dressmaking, knitting and embroidery; and Jordan will teach the refugees how to make crusaders' jackets, lamp shades and other articles. The products that are of a sufficiently high standard will be marketed through the Marketing Office set up in the Welfare Division at headquarters; and the Marketing Supervisor will also advise on the demand for such goods and the procurement of the necessary raw material. The centres in Jordan and Gaza are already in operation, while those in Syria and Lebanon were still in the process of organization at the end of the financial year.
3. ASSISTANCE OF VOLUNTARY AGENCIES
17. A great deal of the welfare assistance that reaches the refugees is due to the untiring efforts of the numerous voluntary agencies of all faiths and national affiliations working in the area, whose widespread and varied activities have perhaps never received the recognition due to them. The funds at UNRWA's disposal for welfare assistance, for such a large number of refugees, have always been severely limited, and it is therefore with deep gratitude that the Agency welcomes the invaluable assistance of the voluntary agencies in this field.
18. During the past year the co-operation between UNRWA and the agencies has become even closer and better organized. A senior Community Welfare Officer has been appointed within the Welfare Division to establish liaison with the voluntary agencies; and the agencies themselves had already created a Central Co-ordinating Committee to control and direct their joint efforts so as best to help the refugees.
19. One of the most important and indispensable contributions of the voluntary agencies is the provision of clothing for the refugees. It has not so far been possible to stretch UNRWA's limited relief budget to cover this requirement, and without the help of the voluntary agencies many of the refugees would now, after six years away from their homes, possess not one stitch of clothing. UNRWA pays ocean and inland freight on all clothing imported into the host countries for distribution to the refugees, and has expended over $260,000 for this purpose during the past year.
20. The total quantity of clothing and shoes donated by non-governmental agencies located outside the Near East and transmitted by UNRWA to their respective field representatives for distribution among Palestine refugees during the past year amounted to 2,317,000 kilogrammes of clothing and 143,000 kilogrammes of shoes. The principal donations were as follows:
1. Albarian--The Reverend Sarkis ...... 241
2. American Friends Service Committee 2,751 579
3. American Middle East Relief ........ 27,498 1,660
4. A.R.A.M.C.O. ....................... 2,596 81
5. British Red Cross .................. 48,573
6. British Women's Voluntary Services . 1,112,899 41,590
7. Canadian Red Cross ................. 4,340
8. Church Missionary Society .......... 2,684
9. Church World Service ............... 295,367 22,468
10. CORSO--New Zealand ................. 2,141
11. Scandinavian Committee ............. 70,000 6,647
12. Friends Service Council ............ 4,064 838
13. Haven for the Homeless ............. 343
14. Italian Red Cross .................. 1,635 1,685
15. Lutheran World Federation .......... 221,949 13,118
16. Mennonite Central Committee ........ 42,492 4,808
17. National Council of the Church of
Christ ............................ 8,917 1,068
18. Near East Christian Council Com-
mittee ............................ 9,338 907
19. Pontifical Mission ................. 416,119 38,305
20. Save the Children Fund ............. 773 87
21. Swedish Red Cross .................. 3,012 91
22. United Church of Canada Committee
on Overseas Relief ................ 17,758 133
23. World Relief Committee ............. 3,428
TOTAL 2,298,918 134,065
21. The two and a half million garments donated during 1952-1953 by the British Women's Voluntary Services were received and distributed during the past twelve months. This was the biggest single gift of clothing that the Agency has ever received, and it enabled distributors to issue two garments to every refugee. The voluntary agencies operating in the field did much of the work of sorting, parcelling, and distributing the clothing, while UNRWA provided the necessary transport.
22. The other gifts and services contributed by the voluntary agencies provide a welcome supplement to similar activities undertaken by other divisions of UNRWA. These include the donation of drugs, the operation of clinics and feeding centres, milk distribution, the provision of education and the carrying out of rehabilitation work.
23. There is such a large number of voluntary organizations of different types working in the area that it is difficult to give individual recognition to all of them by name. It must therefore suffice to mention some of those with which UNRWA has most frequent contacts.
24. The Near East Christian Council Committee supplements and co-ordinates the refugee relief activities of all Protestant, Anglican and Orthodox agencies working in the area. It has area committees in each of the four main host countries, as well as in Egypt itself, where UNRWA does not have a relief programme and where there may be as many as ten thousand to twelve thousand people who left Palestine after the fighting in 1948. The Near East Christian Council operates an annual budget of the order of $270,000, spent on the following distribution of clothing; foodstuffs; medicines; emergency aid for cancer, tuberculosis and mental cases; training in teaching, book-keeping, typing and English; and the provision of interest-free loans in small amounts, of which over 65 per cent have already been repaid.
25. The largest of the voluntary agencies represented on the Near East Christian Council is the Lutheran World Federation, which operates in Syria and Jordan and spends some $800,000 in the area. It operates trade schools, orphanages, homes for the blind, hospitals (notably the Augusta Victoria, which is subsidized by UNRWA) and polyclinics; it also distributes clothing and food supplies, such as egg powder, sugar and milk, both to refugees direct and to UNRWA feeding centres.
26. During the past year special emphasis has been placed by the Federation on aid to the frontier villages; some twenty milk centres were opened in villages along the border for the reconstitution and distribution of liquid milk to both refugees and non-refugees; and, in addition, a soup kitchen was set up in the Bethlehem area where 450 children get one hot meal a day. The Federation's team in Jordan has given invaluable help to the inhabitants of Qibya and other frontier villages in Jordan, following upon the various military incidents that have taken place during the last twelve months. Its representative in Syria has distributed clothing and other supplies to villages situated in the demilitarized zone near Lake Tiberias, in addition to large quantities to refugees in Syria itself.
27. The Young Men's Christian Association has been running an educational, recreational and vocational training programme in UNRWA camps from the earliest days of the emergency and plays its part in the development of a comprehensive welfare programme for the Gaza strip. It is planned to construct a welfare centre with funds donated by the Near East Christian Council on a twelve-dunum plot for which a long lease has been granted by the local authorities. UNRWA has contributed architectural plans for the centre. Apart from direct services to the refugees, this YMCA centre will also give training in leadership.
28. The Jerusalem Anglican Bishopric, in addition to its various relief activities, has carried out a highly successful housing programme, under which two villages for some 300 persons have already been built on the hills near Bethany. Six other houses have been constructed in Zerka, where another member of the Near East Christian Council, the Church Missionary Society, is conducting an interesting development in the field of refugee rehabilitation known as "Zerka Relief and Industries".
29. Among the larger voluntary agencies not represented on the Council, the Pontifical Mission, during the past year, has distributed large quantities of cheese, sugar and other foodstuffs, and cash to the refugees in all four countries, in addition to the usual medical supplies and clothing. Existing installations have been enlarged and some new ones built, particularly for the Mission's education and health programmes.
30. The American Middle East Relief, an organization financed largely by Americans of Lebanese and Syrian origin, sent a representative to Beirut at the beginning of 1954 to initiate projects for both refugees and local inhabitants. The town of Marjayoun in the Saida area was chosen for the establishment of a centre to train women and girls in arts and crafts of various sorts. UNRWA lent the necessary initial equipment and also money for books and materials needed for the development of the project. The garments produced at the centre are distributed to refugees living in the neighbourhood. The American Middle East Relief also contributed to the Agency's programme some 900 tons of butter oil.
31. There are many other voluntary agencies doing excellent work in the area. Among them are the various foreign and local Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the Save the Children Fund (which concentrates particularly on medical work in the frontier villages of the Hebron district of Jordan), the Church World Service (which runs a relief team in frontier villages of the Nablus area), the Mennonite Central Committee (which has relief teams in Hebron and Jericho and a vocational training centre for youths in Jericho) and the American Friends Service Committee.
LEGAL ASPECTS OF THE WORK OF THE AGENCY
1. LEGAL STATUS OF THE AGENCY
1. Some divergencies of views have arisen or have continued to exist between the Agency and the Governments of some of the countries in which it operates, regarding the question of its legal status. It has been argued that the Agency's operational activities have deprived it of its wholly international character, making it a mixed international-national body, and rendering it subject to the control of governmental organs in matters such as the recruitment and conditions of employment of Agency staff, their liability to taxation on their salaries and the amenability of the Agency to the jurisdiction of local courts.
2. The Agency has opposed these arguments, not only because of the gravity of their implications for its independent functioning as a public international organization, and as a subsidiary organ of the United Nations, but also because their application in practice is prejudicial to the interests of the refugees and the efficient execution of the Agency's relief programme.
3. The operation of the programme has been hampered, complicated and made more expensive by various restrictive measures taken by certain of the host Governments. Thus, the obligation imposed upon the Agency to use rail transport for certain bulk supplies instead of the cheaper road transport, has resulted in a substantial financial loss to the Agency. Although the terms of the bilateral agreements governing the movement of the relief supplies concluded between Jordan and Lebanon and between Jordan and Syria specifically
provide for reduced rates for rail transport, making them comparable to road transport rates, the Agency has not yet succeeded in obtaining the benefit of the reduced rate by means of reimbursement of the difference between such rate and the ordinary rate. Moreover, not only have delays ensued because of the necessity of using the much slower rail traffic system, but the Agency has also been obliged to assume greater risks since the road transport contractors bore full responsibility for the safety of goods, whereas the responsibility assumed by the national railroads of Lebanon, Syria and Jordan is limited under the regulations in force and even more so in practice, due to the difficulty of establishing claims against them.
4. Another serious and continuing difficulty relates to the question of procurement of supplies. Some host Governments have sought to induce the Agency to make its purchases of relief supplies locally, even though these might be higher priced than world market rates, and thus cause an unnecessary loss in the Agency's limited funds. The reason given is that the Agency should in every possible way relieve their economies of the heavy burden created by the refugee population. In some instances the practice has arisen of Governments imposing or attempting to impose an embargo on the importation of supplies. Reference to specific cases in this connexion will be found under country headings. The Agency has resisted these pressures, maintaining that, in the interest of the refugees, priority to local products can only be given when conditions, quality and price are as attractive as those of goods available on the world market, and that the Agency should not be required to purchase local supplies at a premium, to the financial disadvantage of the relief programme.
5. With regard to the question of free movement of supplies, delays are sometimes encountered because in certain of the countries in which the Agency operates, the latter has been obliged to apply for import or export permits for every shipment of supplies. While as a general rule such permits are given without much difficulty, not infrequently there are delays which tend to hamper the Agency's relief programme. Specific examples of this type of problem will be referred to under country headings.
2. GENERAL ACTIVITIES AND PROBLEMS OF THE LEGAL OFFICE
6. The operations of the Agency in several countries, the wide variety of its activities and the size of its staff inevitably give rise to an imposing volume of legal work of a continuous and varied nature. Large amounts of money are spent annually, either in the purchase of supplies or in the hiring of services, involving the conclusion of contracts. These contracts sometimes give rise to disputes and claims which, unless settled by direct negotiations, are generally referred to arbitration. The Agency is currently engaged in several arbitration cases. In Lebanon, for example, a case has arisen out of a loan agreement; in Syria, out of a contract for the drilling of artesian wells; in Jordan, out of a transport contract, etc. The Agency has adopted a policy of inserting in all commercial contracts an arbitration clause.
7. In some instances, the Agency, as plaintiff, has instituted proceedings before local courts: in Lebanon, before the Maritime Court on a claim for damages against a shipping agency; in Syria, for recovery of overdue instalments of loans made by virtue of agreements entered into with Palestinian refugees with the object of assisting them in rehabilitating themselves; and in Jordan, again, for recovery of overdue instalments of loans. There are also currently, several cases in the courts of each of the host countries of Agency drivers being charged for violation of traffic regulations or for accidents in which the drivers were involved.
8. Furthermore, the Agency has concluded with the various host countries a large number of programme and project agreements, the drafting of which raised a series of legal points.
9. The Agency, since it employs a total of approximately 7,500 employees in several countries with different systems of law, is also constantly faced with problems arising out of international administrative law. The question arises frequently as to the extent to which the Agency, as a public international organization, in matters arising out of its internal administration, should take the national labour law into consideration. Whenever the relationship of the Agency to its employees is involved, it has, in accordance with the well-established principle of international law governing international organizations, refused to submit to the jurisdiction of local courts. It has, however, made available to the employees a number of internal remedies, patterned upon the procedure and practice of other United Nations bodies.
appeals boards have been created, whose duty it is to examine claims or disputes between the Agency and its employees and to make recommendations for settlement thereof to the Director. In the settlement of such claims and disputes, the Agency as a rule, whenever Agency and United Nations regulations are silent, refers to local legislation as persuasive authority.
10. Throughout its dealings with the Agency, the Egyptian Government has given full recognition to the Agency's status as an international organization and has abided by the terms of its agreement with UNRWA concluded on 12 September 1950, and the provisions of the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations. The only question of major significance that has made itself manifest from time to time has been in regard to the Gaza area, the relationship of that area in law to Egypt and the applicability to that area of conventions to which Egypt is a party, but these problems generally have been solved in a spirit of mutual understanding and co-operation.
11. Some of the difficulties which the Agency has encountered in Jordan derive from the fact that Jordan is not a Member of the United Nations and that the Jordan Government has been unwilling to give full recognition to the obligations which, under international law, are incumbent upon a country which accepts the operations of an international organization within its territory. The Agency has had to insist that the operational nature of its activities does not in any way derogate from the legal status which, as a public international organization, it enjoys in order to fulfil its purposes. Thus, the Agency has had to resist attempts on the part of the Government to limit the powers of the Director in the appointment, employment and termination of staff, to restrict the right of the Agency to import freely supplies needed for its programme and to subject the Agency to the jurisdiction of local courts. The following examples will illustrate the nature of some of the difficulties encountered during the past year:
(i) In January 1954, a former employee was able not only to obtain a judgment from a local court against the Agency for an amount which he claimed was due to him under Government regulations (in contradistinction to UNRWA Staff Regulations), but also execution against UNRWA funds, by causing the Agency's assets in a Jordanian bank to be attached and payment therefrom made in satisfaction of the judgment. This is probably the first case in which the assets of a public international organization have been attached and execution effected. Three notes of protest have so far been of no avail. In a note dated 23 April 1954, the Jordanian Government's attention was drawn to the fact that the case involved a serious breach of international law.(It may be noted, in passing, that the former employee neglected entirely to exhaust internal remedies available to him through the Agency's administrative legal procedures.)
(ii) The question of selection, appointment and termination of Agency personnel in Jordan has, particularly during the past year, been a source of continuous friction between the Agency and the Jordan Government, the latter contending that it should have a deciding voice in all such matters. The Agency's attitude in this regard has been that such questions were the responsibility of the Director who was, nevertheless, always prepared to take the views of the Government into consideration. This principle stems in particular from Article 100 of the Charter and from paragraph 9 of General Assembly resolution 302 (IV). Moreover, it is quite clear that if the Director is to 31 assume responsibility for the administration of the programme, he must have the powers and authority to do so.
(iii) Equally, the Jordan Government has attempted to restrict the Agency's right (implicit in General Assembly resolution 302 (IV) regarding the refugee relief programme, and explicit in article V of the Agreement between the Jordan Government and the Agency) to import freely into Jordan relief supplies, and to this end has gone to the extent of imposing embargoes on the importation of such supplies. Two specific and serious instances have occurred concerning the importation of soap and flour for refugees. In both cases the orders were rescinded, but only after long and difficult negotiations.
(iv) The Jordan Government collects income tax on the salaries and emoluments of UNRWA area staff in Jordan (practically all of them have Jordanian nationality). The Government has insisted that deduction should be made at source by the Agency on behalf of the Jordan Government. This involves a heavy administrative burden upon the Agency, and represents a departure from United Nations practice.
12. The present Agreement between UNRWA and the Jordan Government was concluded on 14 March 1951. Both parties have recognized that it is not satisfactory. The Government in 1953 expressed its desire to revise the Agreement and towards the end of 1953 invited the Agency to designate a negotiation committee. The negotiations started in February 1954 and are still in progress. They are difficult, as the Government's approach is that greater control should be exerted over the Agency's operations, while the Agency considers that (
) it could do a more effective job in the interests of the refugees if there were less interference in its work; and (
) its status as a public international organization under international law should be fully recognized.
13. As has been mentioned in previous reports, many difficulties have been encountered in the past with Lebanon. These difficulties have had a serious practical effect because of the location of the Agency's Headquarters in Beirut. During the period under reference, the Agency has submitted to the Lebanese Government a memorandum concerning all outstanding problems, in which it was suggested that if no amicable settlement thereof could be reached, it might be appropriate to resort to international arbitration or, alternatively, to the procedure provided in article VIII of the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities, regarding the settlement of disputes. Recently the Government has indicated a desire to reach an amicable settlement and negotiations to that end have been under way. While these have not yet achieved a complete result, they were in a well-advanced stage at the time of writing, and it is hoped that a complete agreement will be reached in the near future. This over-all arrangement should pave the way to the conclusion of a formal Headquarters agreement with Lebanon.
14. Developments in Syria over the past year have, with a few exceptions, shown some improvement in the Agency's position, and the Agency's legal status seems to have been better recognized than previously.
15. A step forward was made when, on 3 August 1953, the Syrian Government acceded to the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations (Decree No. 12). This was useful inasmuch as there is as yet no basic agreement between Syria and the Agency regulating the latter's operations in Syrian territory. The principal effect of the accession has been acceptance by the Syrian Courts, which they had hitherto denied, of the Agency's immunity from judicial process.
16. Some points of difference are still pending, such as the following:
(i) Despite acceptance of the Agency's immunity from judicial process (which flows initially from the Charter of the United Nations and not from the Convention), the Syrian Government had not during the period under reference taken action to resolve the problem of the outstanding judgments delivered in favour of former Agency employees in respect of claims for terminal indemnities (see Director's report for the year 1952-1953, A/2470 and Add.1). It will be recalled that in alleged satisfaction of these judgments, Agency funds were attached by Court order. They have not yet been unblocked. The Agency's consistent attitude in this case has been that the judgments were invalid in the first place, since the Syrian Courts had no jurisdiction to entertain suits against the Agency, and that in any event, any seizure or blocking of United Nations funds was a clear breach of Article 105 of the Charter.
(ii) The Agency has also had to resist a tendency on the part of the Syrian authorities to treat it as a quasi-national institution subject to the control and authority of the Syrian Government, rather than as a United Nations organ. In particular, the Agency has had to protest against the sending of Syrian officials to inspect its activities and working conditions in its premises, on grounds of the inviolability of United Nations premises.
(iii) Similar difficulties were encountered in the Agency's Placement Division in Syria, where the Government's attitude resulted in the Placement Office being severely hampered in its operations and allowed less freedom than was permitted under local law to private employment offices. As a consequence, the Agency decided to suspend the activities of this Division whose function was to assist Palestinian refugees to find permanent jobs with private commercial and industrial firms.
(iv) The Syrian Government has recognized the Agency's right to exemption from payment of taxes on the interest earned by Agency funds in Syrian banks. The Government, however, has so far refused to reimburse the Agency with the tax charged and collected prior to its accession to the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities. This refusal seems to be based upon a misconception of the legal position, since the exemption is initially derived from Article 105 of the Charter, to which detailed expression is given in the Convention, which was unanimously adopted by the General Assembly. The Government has also recognized the Agency's exemption from the payment of import licence fees which had been charged previously. Stamp duty on the bank's credit statements and similar documents, however, continues to be charged. The Agency does not accept the validity of these charges.
(v) The Syrian Government recently claimed the right to tax the salaries and emoluments of UNRWA staff, both international and area, employed in Syria. The demand was all the more surprising in view of Syria's earlier accession to the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations. It was contended that only accredited diplomats and their foreign personnel were entitled under local law to fiscal exemption and, since UNRWA personnel in Syria did not fall under these categories, the Ministry of Finance claimed the right to tax their salaries and emoluments and demanded that deductions at source be effected. Both demands were rejected and an
dated 23 June 1954 defining the status of UNRWA staff in this connexion was sent to the Syrian Government.
17. It is believed that the above-mentioned difficulties will be solved after a bilateral agreement is finally concluded between the Syrian Government and the Agency, defining more precisely the status of the Agency and of its officials and governing its activities. Negotiations on this Agreement have been delayed following several unforeseen ircumstances, but are being resumed.
18. In conclusion, while a public international organization of the size and scope of the UNRWA, entrusted with a complex and controversial mission, cannot hope to operate in as large an area as the Near East without meeting difficulties, yet a good many of those which have been encountered are of a nature that should never have arisen. They have undoubtedly had the effect of increasing costs and reducing the efficiency of the Agency in carrying out its tasks. The dissipation of time and energy on problems which are sometimes trivial has been detrimental to the Agency's programme. The principal sufferers are, of course, the refugees. If the Agency is to continue to function, it is hoped that as the essential nature of an international organization is more fully recognized by the Governments concerned, a good many of the problems to which reference has been made will gradually disappear. Frank discussions now proceeding with some of the host Governments on these problems may well lead to useful results.
CO-OPERATION WITH OTHER UNITED NATIONS ORGANIZATIONS
1. Close co-operation between the Agency and other United Nations bodies and the specialized agencies has continued throughout the past year. The Agency acknowledges once more its appreciation of the advice, assistance and co-operation it has received from them, as well as from departments and offices at United Nations Headquarters.
1. UNITED NATIONS BODIES
United Nations Children's Fund
2. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), which was one of the first international bodies on the scene after the cessation of hostilities between Arabs and Jews, has spent between October 1948 and September 1953 a grand total of $14,727,000 on assistance and supplies to the Arab refugees. Since November 1952 it has ceased to supply powdered milk for the Agency programme, but has continued to make donations of foodstuffs and other supplies. During the past year it has contributed to the Agency's programme 115 tons of coconut oil, 196 tons of dates, 10 million fish-liver-oil capsules, 50 tons of Costa Rica beans and 9 tons of cod-liver oil, as well as 70 midwifery kits, and other medical supplies, to a total value of some $101,000.
3. UNICEF is also running a programme for certain categories of refugees not covered by the Agency's mandate; this includes feeding 3,000 school children daily in the Gaza strip. Milk is supplied, on a daily average (June), for 40,000 residents of Gaza and inhabitants of the frontier villages in Jordan.
4. By virtue of an exchange of letters in July and August 1953, it was arranged that UNICEF should undertake all procurement of the Agency's supplies outside the Near East area, acting in the performance of these functions as UNRWA's agent. This was in accordance with the policy of the United Nations to co-ordinate and rationalize the work of the various United Nations organizations. This arrangement is still in its trial period, and will probably undergo some changes in due course.
5. The UNICEF area office for the Near East is located in the same building in Beirut as the headquarters of UNRWA, which provides administrative services, warehousing and clearing facilities for UNICEF supplies arriving in Beirut.
6. The Agency has been able to assist UNICEF on more than one occasion by the loan of supplies in an emergency. At the time of the earthquake in Greece, the Agency provided UNICEF with eighteen tons of whole and 108 tons of skim milk and 20,000 blankets; and during the floods in Iraq--the worst in its recent history--twenty-seven tons of soap and 100 tons of skim milk lent by UNRWA were shipped to Baghdad by UNICEF.
United Nations Truce Supervision Organization
7. There is a considerable area of common interest between the Agency and the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization, since not only do breaches of the armistice along the borders between Israel and Jordan and Israel and Gaza affect the refugees, but the legal and actual status of the various demilitarized zones, particularly on the east bank of the Jordan, is of interest to the Agency in connexion with potential plans for development and rehabilitation in the area. Moreover, the Truce Supervision Organization is concerned when border incidents affect UNRWA personnel or property, as they have done on several occasions during the past year. The Agency's aeroplane has been involved in two incidents.
8. It has therefore been found useful to institute periodic meetings between the Agency and the Truce Supervision Organization, also attended (as described below) by the liaison officer in Jerusalem of the Conciliation Commission, in order to discuss such matters of mutual interest.
9. Space has been made available in the UNRWA headquarters office in Beirut for the liaison officer of the Truce Supervision Organization.
United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine
10. In accordance with General Assembly resolution 302 (IV), which directed the Agency to consult with the Conciliation Commission for Palestine in the best interest of their respective tasks with particular reference to paragraph 11 of Assembly resolution 194 (III), the Agency has maintained contact with the Commission throughout the period under review.
11. Practical co-operation between the two organizations was effected in connexion with the release of Palestinian bank accounts blocked by the Israel Government. The scheme for the release of the first instalment of one million Israel pounds negotiated by the Commission, was carried out during the summer of 1953, and the Agency assisted by the distribution of application forms and the collection and transmission of completed forms to a joint control office in Jerusalem. This task has been made easier by the decision of the Conciliation Commission to send a liaison officer to Jerusalem; and close contact has been effected by means of periodic meetings to discuss subjects of common interest, particularly repatriation and compensation.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
12. In January 1954, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees paid a visit to the area in connexion with the presence of small groups of refugees, such as stateless Armenians, Assyrians and Circassians and others of European origin, who fall under his mandate. He expressed the wish that he might also see something of the Agency's work for the Palestinian refugees, and arrangements were therefore made for him to visit some of its camps in the course of his tour of Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.
13. In December, the Agency received donations of jam and new clothing from the Italian and Danish Red Cross Societies respectively, with the request that a proportional part of the shipments should be given to the representative of the High Commissioner in the area for the 345 refugees under his care, and this was carried out.
14. The Agency also assisted the newly-arrived Cairo representative of the High Commissioner by providing him with accommodation in its Cairo Office.
Technical Assistance Board
15. The Agency has continued to provide office space and certain administrative services for the Technical Assistance Board liaison office in the Near East; the responsibility for the other services which the Agency provided from 1 June 1952 has now been taken over by TAB itself.
16. The Resident Representative of TAB in Libya has given the Agency considerable assistance in the setting up of its Libyan office, providing temporary accommodation and administrative assistance and acting as an intermediary in negotiations with the Government.
17. The Agency, for its part, has been able to assist by the recruitment of three Arabic-English interpreters and two administrative officers for the Resident Representative's office from among the Palestine refugees.
18. The Resident Representative of TAB in Iraq was also assisted during the first few weeks after his arrival in Baghdad, by the Agency's liaison officer to Iraq in the provision of transport and assistance in the recruitment of staff.
Technical Assistance Administration
19. There has been considerable co-operation between the Agency and the Technical Assistance Administration during the past year in connexion with the project for an Economic Planning Division requested by the Jordan Government. This unit, which included an economic adviser and experts on public administration, mining, marketing, manpower and small industries, was set up within the Ministry of Economy in order to assist the Government in the over-all planning and assignment of priorities on its long-term projects. The Agency assisted by the provision of an economist and administrative staff, and also office space, furniture and equipment.
20. The Regional Adviser on Social Welfare, appointed by TAA in 1952, has continued to advise the Agency on matters affecting its welfare programme. At the request of the Acting Director, he made a survey of the UNRWA welfare programme, and drew up a report embodying his recommendations for its reorganization and improvement.
2. SPECIALIZED AGENCIES
World Health Organization
21. The basic working agreement concluded between the Agency and the World Health Organization in September 1950 was once again extended at the seventh World Health Assembly, which met in Geneva during May 1954. The Director-General of WHO was authorized to prolong the duration of the agreement until 30 June 1955, or until the dissolution of the Agency if this should take place before that date. The undertakings contained in the original agreement were met by the continued and even increased provision of staff and
consultative health services, but WHO found itself obliged to delete from its budget for the calendar year 1955 the cash grant of $42,857, which was made annually until the end of 1954, since this had been regarded at the time of its introduction more as an emergency measure than as a continuing commitment. However, the secondment of staff and the provision of technical advice will continue. The Agency's chief medical officer, its epidemiologist, its chief sanitary engineer and a health educator are at present seconded to the Agency's staff. Moreover, WHO has provided consultative and specialist services both from WHO Headquarters in Geneva and from the Regional Office in Alexandria.
22. In August 1953 a supplementary agreement was signed between WHO and UNRWA, by which WHO undertook to grant scholarships and training equipment under its expanded programme of technical assistance for the training of ten Palestine refugees as health education workers. Details of this project are described in annex E.
23. The chief of the Nutrition Section of WHO has paid two visits to the area in connexion with the annual nutritional survey of the refugees carried out in conjunction with FAO.
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
24. In April 1954, a new agreement was concluded between the Agency and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to cover the period from 1 January to 31 December 1954. The previous agreement, signed early in 1952, had been renewed for 1953 by an exchange of letters. The only point on which the new agreement differs from its predecessors is that, whereas previously UNESCO undertook to contribute $70,000 plus the services of two education officers, it now contributes $90,000 but does not pay the salaries and allowances of the three education officers seconded to the Agency. This has the effect of slightly reducing the cash contribution.
25. The staff and equipment, previously made available under the Expanded Programme of Technical Assistance, which formed the subject of a special agreement, will not, however, be continued during 1954 as had been foreseen. The technical education specialist was replaced by an UNRWA staff member during 1953, the services of the visual education specialist were discontinued at the end of May 1954, and the cost of the fundamental education expert will be paid from Agency funds.
26. UNESCO donations in the form of gift coupons to the Agency's schools have amounted to a total value of nearly $8,000 during the past year.
27. A joint UNESCO-UNICEF-WHO team on a reporting tour of the Near East was assisted by UNRWA with transport and facilities for inspecting its camps and other installations.
International Labour Organisation
28. The past year has seen the implementation of the basic agreement, signed at the end of 1952, for the provision of technical assistance, and of the supplementary agreement under which the International Labour Organisation agreed to provide one vocational training expert for a period of one year to act as adviser to the Principal of the Agency's Vocational Training Centre at Kalandia, and three vocational training experts to act as workshop supervisor instructors, also for one year each.
29. The Agency was notified by ILO in September that three out of four fellowships provided under the agreement had been withdrawn; the fourth, however, was taken up by the Palestinian Principal of the Vocational Training Centre, who spent over three months in England during the spring of 1954. Since the year specified in the agreement as the period of service of the three vocational training experts expires in August 1954, the Agency has made arrangements to re-engage these individuals on its own staff.
30. The Agency approached ILO during the latter part of 1953 on the subject of the possible provision, under similar conditions, of technical experts for the Agency's proposed vocational training centre in Gaza. The ILO was, however, unfortunately not in a position to provide such experts; but it offered to assist the Agency in their recruitment.
Food and Agriculture Organization
31. The senior supervisory officer of the Nutrition Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization visited the area twice, at the Agency's request, in July 1953 and June 1954, on the latter occasion in company with the nutrition and home economics officer of the FAO Regional Office for the Near East. These visits were made for the purpose, as described in annex E above, of carrying out the annual nutritional survey jointly with WHO.
32. A FAO regional meeting was held in Cairo in September 1953, and a representative of UNRWA's Rehabilitation Division attended as an observer at the invitation of the Director General of FAO. The previous regional meeting, held in Amman in December 1952 to consider the creation of a forestry commission for the Near East, had requested the countries of the area to take part in the activities of the International Poplar Commission; and in accordance with this recommendation, a Near East Poplar Conference was convened by FAO in Damascus in April 1954.
33. Since UNRWA had already planted many thousands of poplars at its agricultural rehabilitation scheme at Ramadan in Syria, and was interested in their use for future projects, it was glad to accept the invitation of the Director-General to this conference, and both the chief agricultural officer and the field agricultural officer attached to the Syrian field office attended. The Agency was able to assist FAO on this occasion by the loan of an interpreter.
A. Final report of the United Nations Economic Survey Mission for the Middle East (28 December 1949), document A/AC.25/6, parts I and II.
B. Report of the Secretary-General on assistance to Palestine refugees: see Official Records of the General Assembly, Fourth Session, Ad Hoc Political Committee, Annexes, volume II, page 14, document A/1060.
C. Reports of the Director of UNRWA and special reports of the Director and Advisory Commission to the General Assembly:
Ibid, Fifth Session, Supplement No. 19,
Ibid., Sixth Session, Supplements Nos. 16 and 16 A,
documents A/1905 and Add.1;
Ibid., Seventh Session, Supplements Nos. 13 and 13 A,
documents A/2171 and Add.1;
Ibid., Eighth Session, Supplements Nos. 12 and 12 A,
documents A/2470 and Add.1.
D. Pertinent General Assembly resolutions:
194 (III), of 11 December 1948;
212 (III), of 19 November 1948;
302 (IV), of 8 December 1949;
393 (V), of 2 December 1950;
513 (VI), of 26 January 1952;
614 (VII), of 6 November 1952;
720 (VIII), of 27 November 1953.
In August 1954, at the time when the present report was prepared, a mutually satisfactory arrangement was reached in principle with the Syrian Government, so that it is hoped that this case can soon be considered as settled.