People in Lebanon, among them Palestine refugees, are “suffering and paying the price for something not of their making,” UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini said during a visit to the country.
“I met with Palestine refugees during my visit who are completely ravished by poverty, despair and lack of prospect. The humanitarian situation of Palestine refugees in Lebanon is extremely alarming. People are dying a slow death as many are unable to afford medicines or co-share the cost of treatment especially for chronic diseases and cancer. Levels of poverty and unemployment are unprecedented due to one of the worst economic crises in recent history. The spread of cholera is the latest tragic layer that adds to acute hardship and helplessness,” Lazzarini added.
“While I walked on dark streets due to long power cuts, I wondered if Lebanon was at a point of no return,” he said.
“In the Beddawi Palestine refugee camp, north of Lebanon, I met Salim, who asked that I relay his call for help so that his family can survive this dark episode of the country’s economic freefall,” Lazzarini went on to say.
“Last month, I put out a plea on behalf of Palestine refugees highlighting the levels of despair they are living in. I asked the world to ‘Hear Their Voices’ and act to help UNRWA help Palestine refugees with the bear minimum, to make ends meet and live in dignity,” he added.
Heeding UNRWA’s call for urgent assistance, the Government of Germany “generously contributed US$ 6 million for Palestine refugees in Lebanon,” Lazzarini said. “With this support, UNRWA will be able to do a round of cash assistance distribution to the most vulnerable as they prepare for winter. This cash assistance also includes Palestine refugees from Syria who depend on monthly assistance from UNRWA to survive,” he added.
“While this is very welcome, it’s only the tip of the iceberg. People in Lebanon need and deserve to have 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.
“However, and until a more sustainable solution is found, UNRWA will continue to do everything possible to help Palestine refugees have a life of dignity. I call for further support to UNRWA so that we continue to assist families in need.”