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First UNRWA convoy in Two Years Reaches Palestine refugees in the Damascus suburb of Yalda

First UNRWA convoy in Two Years Reaches Palestine refugees in the Damascus suburb of Yalda

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5 June 2018
Jerusalem

An UNRWA convoy has delivered life-saving aid to Palestine refugees and vulnerable Syrians displaced from the destroyed Yarmouk unofficial refugee camp in Damascus to the nearby neighborhood of Yalda. UNRWA resumed access to the area for the first time since 25 May 2016 and reached those displaced by the recent fighting in Yarmouk with emergency assistance, including medicine and food. The convoy, which included a mobile UNRWA health clinic, consisted of 18 truckloads.

Mr. Mohamed Abdi Adar, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Syria said: "These refugees had already suffered untold hardship because of years of besiegement and hostilities and then late April, intensified fighting in Yarmouk further destroyed many homes, displacing thousands. The traumas of war, combined with desperation and fear are taking an enormous toll, particularly on the children. This assistance will give them a lifeline and help meet their urgent humanitarian needs. But more must be done in the longer term.”

The UNRWA team today distributed food parcels, hygiene kits, kitchen sets, mattresses, mats, blankets and jerry cans to 614 families (approx. 2,500 individuals) in Yalda. Cleaning items and tarpaulins were also provided to a shelter hosting 65 families in the area. Our health staff also provided treatment to 200 patients in Yalda today and recorded critical health needs. The medical treatment and aid distributions will continue tomorrow.

“This work highlights the need to address the severe underfunding in UNRWA’s Emergency Appeal for Palestine refugees in Syria,” said Mohamed Abdi Adar. “Across Syria, we are providing urgent humanitarian assistance including food, healthcare, and cash to hundreds of thousands of Palestine refugees and yet the Syria portion of the Emergency Appeal is less than 5% funded. He added “we have already had to reduce our emergency cash assistance in Syria from 64 US$ to 46 US$ covering a 2 month period and unless the donor community responds rapidly, there will be further reductions of these life-saving services. That could prove catastrophic for hundreds of thousands of people”.

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UNRWA

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA programme budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s programme budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0267
c.gunness@unrwa.org
Twitter: @ChrisGunness

Sami Mshasha
UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0724
s.mshasha@unrwa.org