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UNRWA chief says 15% of Palestinian refugees have fled Syria

February 13, 2014 at 2:56 am

The Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has said that 15 per cent of the Palestinian refugees in Syria have fled from the violence in the country. Filippo Grandi confirmed that fighting has taken place in 7 of the 12 UN-run refugee camps in Syria while many of their residents have left for Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt.

After a meeting with the Secretary General of the Arab League, Nabil Al-Arabi, Mr Grandi told Dubai’s Al-Bayan newspaper that the discussion revolved around how to strengthen UNRWA financially by encouraging the League’s member states to support its core budget. He noted the Arab League’s decision that 7.8 per cent of UNRWA’s budget is supposed to come through such contributions; that figure stands at just 2 per cent at the moment.

Grandi also asserted that he and Al-Arabi discussed ways to strengthen cooperation between the Arab League and UNRWA regarding the 530,000 Palestinian refugees who normally live in Syria. He pointed out that “the exodus” of Palestinian refugees from Syria was due to “security reasons”. More than half of those who remain in Syria are homeless because the refugee camps are not safe to live in, he added.