JERUSALEM, Thursday, February 25, 2021 (WAFA) - The Deputy Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Leni Stenseth, has called on the international community to support Palestine refugees during her participation in the Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) of the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) on Tuesday 23 February.
"Donors fatigue is not an option," said Ms. Stenseth after she described the despair and hopelessness that have become rife among Palestine refugees, particularly among young people. "Tensions in camps are brewing. Pressure on UNRWA to do more is increasing. Meanwhile, regional political developments, political attacks on the Agency and our financial difficulties feed a deep sense of insecurity and abandonment among the refugees."
The AHLC meets twice a year to coordinate the delivery of international aid to Palestinians and the Palestinian Authority. With the drastic deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territory because of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, UNRWA has become a lifeline to nearly 2.7 million people registered with UNRWA and eligible to receive its services in the West Bank and Gaza.
This year, said the Agency, it will support approximately 1.25 million food-insecure Palestine refugees in Palestine through emergency food aid or cash assistance. Cash-for-work opportunities will help mitigate substantial loss of livelihoods, specifically in Gaza, and emergency education support will benefit more than 330,000 UNRWA students across Palestine.
In addition, UNRWA said it will ensure continued access to primary, secondary and tertiary health care for Palestine refugees in Gaza and the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), maintain COVID-19 prevention measures, respond to Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and child protection concerns, and monitor occupation-related protection incidents, especially in the West Bank.
"UNRWA is key to the fight against the pandemic, regional stability, and efforts towards peace," said the Deputy Commissioner-General. "Our services inject a sense of normality in an otherwise extremely unpredictable region. UNRWA is irreplaceable for the rights and wellbeing of Palestine refugees."