A United nations relief organisation has been forced to cut its flour rations to more than 800,000 Palestinian refugees of a major budget deficit.
A United nations relief organisation has been forced to cut its flour rations to more than 800,000 Palestinian refugees of a major budget deficit. The UN's Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) says other services might also be affected unless the cash shortage is resolved soon.
SYNOPSIS: One of the camps which houses refugees registered with the agency is abra-Shatila in Beirut, The Lebanese capital. About 55,000 people live there -- some since 1948.
Many of the refugees there rely largely on the United Nations for their basic food. The UNRWRA has selected what they term the most needy and provides them with flour, oil, rice and sugar.
Some also receive health and educational services. But these are now in danger. Informed sources quoted by Reuters news agency says the agency's financial problems were caused largely by a drop in contributions from Arab oil-producing countries. The agency now wants a new system under which countries would pledge contributions, and allow it to plan on a three-year basis.
Although the bulk of the food still comes from the UN, the refugees normally buy the rest in the markets. There is normally at least one of these in each camp where a large range of food is available. Prices are often lower in these markets than in the city outside because shopkeepers don't pay rates and have very low running costs.
Last Year UNRWA was also forced to cut back on flour rations in Lebanon and Jordan. Some members of the Palestine Liberation Organisation claim the United Nations isn't doing enough to provide food for the refugees. This year UNRWA will spend an estimated 134 million U.S. dollars on refugees aid.