UNRWA Commissioner-General visits collective shelters in Damascus

IAM (CIHAN)- UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbuhl paid his first visit to Syria on Wednesday (14 May) to see for himself the extreme hardship that Palestine refugees in Syria are facing as a result of the ongoing armed conflict.

Many refugees have, often overnight, lost everything from their homes, their livelihoods, their businesses and their hopes. In their families, they had confronted death, injury and disappearance. As another generation of Palestinians experiences the trauma of displacement, their situation has become, in human terms, nothing short of catastrophic and yet is often being overlooked.

“The critical imperative”, Mr. Krähenbuhl emphasized, is “improved conditions to deliver the much-needed assistance to affected refugee communities. All parties must understand that safe, uninterrupted and substantial food distributions must become the norm. UNRWA must be allowed to provide medical supplies, hygiene items, water and other essential humanitarian supplies to civilians in Yarmouk, as well as in several other embattled camps and locations in the country.”

In his meetings with Government of Syria officials, including Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Hussam Eddin Alla, Social Affairs Minister and Chair of the Higher Relief Committee Dr. Kinda Al-Shammat and Director of the General Authority for Palestine Arab Refugees Ali Mustafa, Mr. Krähenbuhl acknowledged the role of the Syrian authorities in enabling UNRWA to provide humanitarian assistance to the crisis-affected Palestine refugees across Syria. But he stressed that significantly more needed to be done.

In Homs in central Syria, the Commissioner-General visited UNRWA installations and met Palestine refugees who have been exposed to a multiplicity of traumas over the past three years.

In his interactions with displaced refugees now housed at two UNRWA schools in Jaramana camp in Damascus, Mr. Krähenbuhl listened to their stories of hardship and their feelings of loss and uncertainty. He pledged that UNRWA would continue to make every effort to support and assist Palestine refugees in this time of acute vulnerability.

Krähenbuhl expressed gratitude to UNRWA staff for their commitment and for selflessly taking great personal risks to provide assistance to the refugees, often putting aside their own personal experiences and tragedies.


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