UNRWA COMMISSIONER-GENERAL IN A 3-DAY VISIT TO LEBANON
01 February 2015
Upon his arrival to Lebanon, the Commissioner-General visited the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr el-Bared, where he had the opportunity to inspect the latest developments of the reconstruction project. At the temporary shelters, Mr. Krähenbühl met with the displaced residents, the popular committees and Palestinian factions in North Lebanon. Mr. Krähenbühl reiterated UNRWA’s strong commitment to completing the reconstruction of the refugee camp and expressed his deep solidarity with the population: “It was important for me to come to Nahr el Bared and show my solidarity and commitment to the refugees who are understandably frustrated after waiting so long for their homes to be rebuilt. With current funding, our efforts should see the return of half the displaced to their dwellings. Positive as this is, it is not enough for the other half still homeless".
In his meetings with the Lebanese authorities, the Commissioner-General expressed appreciation for Lebanon’s longstanding support to UNRWA. Mr. Krähenbühl acknowledged the immense pressure Lebanon is under due to the huge influx of refugees from Syria and urged the authorities to continue recognizing the grave humanitarian situation faced by Palestine refugees fleeing Syria. Mr. Krähenbühl extended his gratitude to the Lebanese Prime Minister, Mr. Tamam Salam for seeking funds from Gulf States for the reconstruction of Nahr el-Bared camp adding that, together with its partners, and in consultation with the affected population of the camp, UNRWA will continue to explore all possible ways to accelerate reconstruction efforts and improve current living conditions of those still displaced.
Mr. Krähenbühl emphasized the Agency’s commitment to carry out its essential work in support of Palestine refugees in Lebanon whose plight should not be forgotten.
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$ 81 million.
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