UN agency appealed Wednesday to the international community to donate tens of millions of dollars to help improve living conditions for Palestinians in crisis-hit Lebanon.
The appeal by the agency for Palestinian refugees, or UNRWA, is asking for an additional $87.5 million to provide Palestinian refugees with cash assistance to the poorest and to cover hospital expenses as well as transportation for children so that they can go to school.
UNRWA says more than 210,000 Palestinian refugees are among the most vulnerable and that some basic commodities have become out of reach for many as Lebanon sinks deeper into the economic meltdown. It added that more than 58% of Palestinian refugees here have reduced the number of meals they eat every day.
About 400,000 Palestinian refugees and their descendants mostly live in a dozen refugee camps in Lebanon, set up for those who fled or were pushed out during fighting surrounding Israel’s creation in 1948. An additional 27,000 Palestinians fled from Syria over the past decade during its deadly civil war.
The Palestinians in Lebanon are prohibited from working in professional jobs, have few legal protections, and cannot own property.
Lebanon’s crisis erupted in October 2019, rooted in decades of corruption and mismanagement by the ruling class. It has left tens of thousands of people jobless, and nearly 80% of the country’s population of 6 million, including about 1.5 million Syrian and Palestinian refugees, live in poverty. The Lebanese pound has lost more than 90% of its value, wiping out the purchasing power of middle-class and low-income families.