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UNRWA Commissioner asks Egypt to consider Gaza's humanitarian needs

UNRWA Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi discussed the issues of the Palestinian refugees in the region with the Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmi, media sources reported on Monday.

Grandi said he paid a visit to thank the Egyptian government for the support it offered to UNRWA, not only in Egypt, but also in the whole region, in New York and with international organisations.

He continued by saying Egypt has been a strong political supporter of UNRWA in the Arab and international worlds, and said he hoped it would remain so.

“We understand very well the situation and security challenges in Egypt,”Grandi said, “but we hope that Egypt looks at the Gaza Strip with a humanitarian eye.”

Grandi described the situation of the Palestinian refugees in Yarmouk Refugee Camp in Syria as “unacceptable”. He said they cannot access the camps and cater aid to refugees there. He said UNRWA’s operation stopped because of the lack of agreement between the conflicting sides.

He stressed that refugees there are in desperate need of aid and hoped that UNRWA could reach them as soon as possible. The number of registered Palestinian refugees in Syria, Grandi said, is 540,000, but he thinks that more than half of them were displaced during the unrest. He asserted that 80,000 fled to several countries around the world, including Egypt.

In Yarmouk, Grandi said: “There are 80,000 registered refugees, but only about 18,000 remained. They are unable to move or leave.” He said the UNRWA does not have exact numbers.

The General Commissioner said that there are 3,600 Palestinian refugees running schools and healthcare clinics serving refugees in Syria. According to him, ten of the workers were killed and 21 were lost during the clashes in the country.

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