On 4 December, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) welcomed a delegation from the United Kingdom to the Palestine refugee camp of Dbayeh, on the outskirts of Beirut. The delegation, led by Simon Gass, Director General, Political at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, was accompanied by Roger Davies, Deputy Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon.
On their visit, the officials met residents of the camp and discussed their dire living conditions. They also discussed how the influx of refugees from Syria is affecting their lives. The delegation visited Dbayeh shelters currently at risk of demolition, and discussed an EU-funded plan to rehabilitate 25 shelters.
Mr. Davies briefed the delegation on UNRWA services to the Palestine refugees in Lebanon. He noted that “UK support for UNRWA is extremely important.”
Following the visit, Mr. Gass stated: “I was glad to see the work being done on the ground by UNRWA to support Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. As part of our effort to support Lebanon’s humanitarian appeal, the UK has pledged GBP 15.5 million (US$ 25.4 million) of funding for UNRWA. This contribution is critical to their ongoing response to the Syria crisis.”
In 2013, the Government of the United Kingdom contributed over US$ 12.2 million to support UNRWA activities in Lebanon in response to the conflict in Syria, and was one of the largest donors to the Agency’s emergency response in Lebanon. In addition, the UK is also one of the largest donors to the UNRWA General Fund.
UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.
Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 36 million.
For more information, please contact:
Public Information Officer - Lebanon Field Office
(+ 961 1) 840468
(+ 961 1) 840468