UNRWA and the World Food Programme (WFP) have signed a memorandum of understanding to support cash for food assistance for Palestine refugees from Syria (PRS) in Lebanon.
The signing ceremony was hosted by the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon Derek Plumbly in his office in Baabda, and attended by ambassadors and heads of United Nations agencies in Lebanon.
Mr. Plumbly welcomed the generous contribution from WFP, which aims to ensure that PRS receive the food assistance they require. “This is an encouraging example of how cooperation among partners within and outside the UN system can help ease some of the suffering of the PRS. I hope donors will be inspired by it to help ensure that necessary assistance for vulnerable Palestine refugees remains available for as long as it is needed,” Mr. Plumbly said.
Director of UNRWA operations in Lebanon, Ann Dismorr, thanked Mr. Plumbly for hosting the event and WFP for their generous contribution to ensuring food security for PRS. Ms. Dismorr added, “PRS rely heavily on UNRWA services and have become increasingly vulnerable, especially since May when further restrictions were introduced and limited their freedom of movement. Furthermore, PRS have limited access to work in Lebanon and for many families, if not most, UNRWA cash assistance is the only source of income.”
WFP Lebanon Country Director Imad Osman Saleh welcomed the new partnership. He added, “We are confident that this cooperation will be fruitful and will lead to the improvement of the situation of the Palestinian communities from Syria, especially in terms of food security.”
Mr. Saleh concluded by highlighting the need for additional help to keep this assistance sustainable. “Assisting refugees or any community in need would require concerted efforts so that we, hand-in-hand, feed the most vulnerable, with the help of funding agencies, individuals, governments or any funding entity that would kindly contribute to fighting hunger,” he said.
Under the agreement, WFP will provide UNRWA with up to 50 per cent of the funds required to ensure PRS in Lebanon receive food assistance through to December 2014. The amount credited by UNRWA to PRS individuals is at the same rate as the WFP regional emergency operation figure, which is currently US$ 30 per month.
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$ 70.5 million.
For more information, please contact:
Public Information Officer - Lebanon Field Office
Mobile: (+ 961 1) 840 490
Office: (+ 961 1) 840 490