The UN agency for Palestine refugees UNRWA has called on the international community to ensure that aid to support Lebanon in the wake of the August 4 explosion in Beirut also goes to Palestine refugees.
It is extremely important to help Palestine refugees because they are amongst the most vulnerable communities in Lebanon, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said in an statement on August 12.
Most refugees live below poverty line
The agency said that the majority of the over 200,000 Palestinian refugees who reside in Lebanon live below the poverty line. Their situation had already become more precarious before the Beirut explosions, due to an economic crisis and the restrictive measures triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Then, on August 4, two explosions in the harbor of Beirut -- caused by dangerous materials that had been stored without adequate safety measures -- left over 160 people dead, thousands injured and hundreds of thousands homeless. Among those killed, according to UNRWA, were two Palestine refugees.
Palestine refugee volunteers
The director of UNWRA affairs in Lebanon, Claudio Cordone, said: "In the last few days, we have witnessed heartening acts of solidarity from Palestine refugees towards their host community, with volunteers helping with relief efforts and clearing the rubble. They are part of the picture in Lebanon and any holistic relief plan should address their needs."
UNRWA said that the most pressing need for the agency is to be able to continue its cash assistance to all Palestine refugees in Lebanon. They said they need an estimated 10.6 million dollars for the next round that they hopes to start in the fall.
"The funds we are seeking are a small price to pay to mitigate the hardship on a highly distressed community and contribute to its sense of security and the overall stability in the country," UNRWA director Cordone argued.