Italy will provide an additional 1.5 million euros ($1.7 million) to the United Nations agency for Palestine refugees in response to an emergency funding appeal from the agency.
The announcement followed a joint meeting between Italian Ambassador to Lebanon Massimo Marotti and UNRWA Director Claudio Cordone at the Italian Embassy in Beirut.
The new funding, an UNRWA statement said Monday, will enable the agency to continue supporting health care for Lebanon’s most vulnerable Palestinian refugees and allow the hospitalization of nearly 1,500 Palestinian refugees displaced from Syria to Lebanon.
The money will also make possible cash assistance for some of the Palestinian refugees who fled the conflict in Syria.
Some 552,000 Palestinian refugees were registered with UNRWA in Syria, of which an estimated 120,000 have fled the country for Lebanon, Jordan and beyond.
A 2017 census found that 174,422 Palestinian refugees were living in Lebanon.
Close to 1 million non-Palestinian Syrian refugees are registered with the U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR, in Lebanon.
Marotti commended Lebanon for its hosting of refugees.
“Italy recognizes the enormous efforts of the Lebanese government to host vulnerable refugees, and will continue to support its endeavors.
“With the agreement we signed today, Italy confirms its commitment to sustain the commendable actions undertaken by UNRWA in the country, promoting a vision that places the vulnerable people at the center of the Italian aid policy,” Marotti said.
The emergency appeal for funding comes during a difficult financial time for UNRWA, after U.S. President Donald Trump announced last year that he would end support for the organization.
“It is only with support from donor partners like Italy that UNRWA is able to continue to serve the Palestine refugee community,” Cordone said after Monday’s meeting.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
Copyright © 2021, The Daily Star. All rights reserved.