United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

UNRWA Commissioner General calls for action to ease plight of Palestine refugees

Commissioner General of UNRWA Karen Koning AbuZayd has called for action to ease the plight of Palestine refugees. Speaking to delegates participating in UNRWA’s Advisory Commission meeting, which opened in Amman this morning, Ms. AbuZayd appealed to concerned actors to address the causes of conflict. “The political front is where we need your leadership”, the Commissioner General told the meeting. “I see my role as one of informing political leaders of the facts on the ground and of encouraging action that will ease the plight of the refugees”, said AbuZayd, expressing hope that a unity government in Palestine will become a reality, thus paving the way for revitalizing the peace process. 

UNRWA Strongly Condemns the Killing of its Staff Member

At 06:40hrs on August 14, one hour and twenty minutes before the cessation of hostilities in Lebanon, Israeli aircraft targeted a Palestinian faction in the Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp in Saida with two missiles. The destructive power of the missiles, fired into a civilian residential area, killed UNRWA staff member Mr. Abdel Saghir. Mr. Saghir, 48, had begun his shift as a sanitation labourer ten minutes earlier. He leaves behind a wife and three children. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) strongly condemns the killing of Mr. Saghir. 

The situation of Palestine refugees in South Lebanon

The Palestine Refugees in South Lebanon live in the city of Tyre, villages around the city and towards the Israeli border and in three camps: El-Buss (1.5km south-east of the city of Tyre), Burj el-Shemali (3km east of Tyre) and Rashidieh (on the seashore 5km south of Tyre). With the outbreak of the conflict on 12-13 July the Palestine refugee camps saw both inflows and outflows of displaced people. A survey estimated the population of the three camps at 25,363, with 2,920 having left the camps, and 22,443 left behind. While UNRWA has no precise data on the whereabouts of those who left, the community reports that most have gone to friends and family in the Palestinian camps in Saida. 

"People with nothing are helping people with nothing"

TYRE — As the war in Lebanon continues, Palestine refugees are also feeling the burn of the attacks in this ancient city and district declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1979. The camps are struggling with diminishing supplies of food, water and medicine. “We have been waiting for months now for a shipment of medicine and critical supplies, but with the onset of war, I doubt it will ever arrive now,” said Mohammed Farmawi, an official with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. 

UN Agencies: Deeply alarmed by continuing violence in Gaza

The United Nations humanitarian agencies working in the occupied Palestinian territory are deeply alarmed by the impact continuing violence is having on civilians and civilian infrastructure in Gaza, which has resulted in a sharp decline in the humanitarian situation facing 1.4 million people, more than half of them children. We are concerned that with international attention focusing on Lebanon, the tragedy in Gaza is being forgotten. We estimate that since 28 June, 175 Palestinians have been killed, including approximately 40 children and eight women, and over 620 injured in the Gaza Strip. 

Israeli authorities impose more restrictions on UNRWA staff members' access to Jerusalem

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has today protested to the Israeli Government the introduction of further restrictions affecting the freedom of movement of UNRWA staff crossing into Jerusalem from the West Bank. In an unprecedented development, the Israeli Government failed to officially inform UNRWA, and other United Nations agencies, about its decision to impose a general closure from 1 May through 4 May and did not inform the Agency that its West Bank staff, holders of Israeli-issued travel permits allowing them access to Jerusalem, would be prevented from reporting to work. 

Palestine refugees on 56 years of UNRWA

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is the main provider of education, health, relief and social services to registered Palestine refugees in the Agency’s five fields of operations: Jordan, Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic and the West Bank and Gaza Strip. UNRWA’s assistance is especially essential to refugees in the occupied Palestinian territory, where the economic situation continues to deteriorate and movement restrictions impede the delivery of UNRWA’s humanitarian aid. The frequent closure of the commercial Karni crossing to the Gaza Strip, where refugees account for two-thirds of the population. Below are some impressions and reflections of Palestine refugees in Gaza. 

Compensation package for farmers urgently needed

John Ging, Director of UNRWA’s Gaza Field Office, highlighted that “a compensation package is urgently needed for the hundreds of families whose livelihoods have been wiped out by bird flu.” Mr. Ging visited Juhr El-Deik Municipality, at the invitation of the Mayor, to meet with refugee farmers whose chickens have been culled due to recent outbreaks of avian influenza within the Gaza Strip. The culls were ordered and carried out by the Palestinian Ministry of Health. 

"Only a fully functioning Karni Crossing can avert looming humanitarian crisis"

The Director of UNRWA operations in Gaza, Mr. John Ging, stated that he was “struggling to be optimistic” upon his return from a visit to the “reopened” Karni commercial crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning. He explained that “the situation on the streets of Gaza was worse than it had been the day before, as the half hour opening of Karni on Monday afternoon had absolutely no impact on the developing humanitarian crisis.” Ging said on Tuesday that he hoped that the opening of Karni is the beginning of a return to normality. “For Gazans, this is the first rationing of bread in living memory,” he said. 

UNRWA warns against deteriorating humanitarian conditions in Gaza

Director of UNRWA Operations, Gaza, John Ging, has warned against the deteriorating humanitarian conditions in Gaza due to the shortage of basic food commodities, especially flour, as a result of the closure of Karni crossing by the Israeli Authorities. In a press conference held on 9 March at UNRWA’s Relief and Social Services Distribution Center in Khan Younis camp, south of Gaza, Mr. Ging underlined the economic situation in Gaza caused by a shortage of basic commodities. “The conditions of refugees in Khan Younis are extremely difficult. Humanitarian assistance is needed to provide a decent life for refugees.” He also stressed that the “UNRWA exists for a humanitarian purpose and will continue to provide assistance to Palestine refugees.”