UN urges more support for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon

BEIRUT – The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) on Thursday called for more support to help the organization assist vulnerable Palestinian refugee families amid the deteriorating financial situation in Lebanon.

UNRWA Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini was quoted by a UNRWA statement as warning that “the humanitarian situation of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon is extremely alarming.”

His remarks came at the end of his Nov. 22-24 trip to Lebanon where he visited refugee camps and held meetings with Lebanese and Palestinian officials to discuss the poor situation of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

“People in Lebanon, among them Palestine refugees, are suffering and paying the price for something not of their making. I met with Palestinian refugees during my visit who are completely ravished by poverty, despair, and lack of prospect,” Lazzarini said.

The UN official emphasized the harsh living conditions in Lebanon amid a rise in poverty and unemployment, worsened by the spread of cholera.

He noted that the UNRWA call for international help to Palestinian refugees in Lebanon last month prompted Germany to contribute 6 million U.S. dollars, enabling the organization to distribute cash to the most vulnerable Palestinian families ahead of the winter’s coming.

“While this is welcome, it’s only the tip of the iceberg. People in Lebanon need and deserve a better life far from dependence on humanitarian and cash assistance. It is a nation known for its creativity, generosity, and love of life against all odds,” Lazzarini said.

According to the latest UNRWA surveys, about 93 percent of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon live in poverty.

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