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    11-May-2020

UNRWA launches new $93.4m coronavirus emergency appeal for Palestine refugees

 

The Jordan Times

 

AMMAN — The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is urgently seeking $93.4 million for its response to COVID-19 in the areas of healthcare, sanitation and hygiene and education over the next three months, the UN agency said in a statement on Sunday.
 
The amount is an update from the agency’s earlier appeal, with a large portion of the funding aimed at covering cash and food assistance to this particularly vulnerable population, as the socio-economic consequences of the public health crisis continue to weigh heavily on households, UNRWA said.
 
Since the start of the crisis, the agency “has worked diligently” to deliver essential services to Palestine refugees throughout the Middle East.
 
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has been distributed to thousands of front-line health staff, triage systems have been introduced in all health centres to screen patients with respiratory symptoms and minimise contact with other patients, non-critical health services have been suspended and telemedicine and door-to-door delivery of medicine and food were introduced to reduce foot traffic at health clinics and food distribution centres, the statement said.
 
In order to ensure the continuity of education to over 530,000 students enrolled in UNRWA schools and 8,270 young people in vocational centres, the agency Education in Emergencies (EiE) approach, developed in response to conflicts in Syria and Gaza, has been adjusted to the COVID-19 crisis and implemented.
 
To avoid any additional public health hazards, sanitation works and solid waste collection have continued in all camps and protective measures for sanitation workers have increased. The agency is continuing its vital food and cash assistance programmes for the most vulnerable, according to the statement.
 
“We have seen how the crisis is disproportionally hitting the poorest and most destitute communities around the world. This is sadly also true for Palestine refugees who are amongst the most vulnerable populations in the Middle East,” said UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini in the statement.
 
“Most refugees UNRWA serves live under the poverty line and lack the safety net needed to absorb the financial and medical shocks created by the COVID-19 pandemic. They are now facing devastating consequences to their physical, social and economic wellbeing,” Lazzarini added.
 
The UNRWA emergency appeal will work to prevent a disastrous situation that could leave thousands of lives in the balance and will protect against the most severe impacts of the pandemic by providing basic needs such as food, water and lifesaving healthcare and preventing further deterioration of refugees’ health and socio-economic safety, read the statement.
 
“As long as the global crisis persists, UNRWA will continue to adapt the way it works so that it responds to the needs and expectations of Palestine refugees. I count on the solidarity of the international community to help us ensure Palestine refugees remain safe and able to weather the economic storm that could push this vulnerable community to the brink of disaster. This could trigger more instability in an already volatile region,” said Lazzarini.
 
 

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