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UNRWA’s Commissioner-General: Palestine Refugees in Syria Witnessing Large-Scale Devastation

Published : 17-03-2019

UNRWA’s Commissioner-General: Palestine Refugees in Syria Witnessing Large-Scale Devastation

Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) warned of the scale of destruction he has witnessed in Yarmouk Camp for Palestinian refugees, south of Damascus.

“When last visiting the Yarmouk refugee camp, in Damascus, I was confronted with a scale of devastation unlike anything I had witnessed before in almost three decades of work in war zones around the world”, said Krähenbühl. “Standing in these fields of ruin, I saw signs everywhere of the appalling human cost of an unforgiving conflict, which has torn apart the lives of millions of Syrians. I was also reminded of what makes the tragedy of Palestine refugees in Syria so particularly unique.”

“Young Palestinians growing up in Yarmouk before the war would have spent the first years of their life trying to come to grips with their family’s history and the stories of exodus from cities whose names they know but whose features they have never seen. They would listen to the memories of their parents and grand-parents and long for a just solution to their plight”, he added.

“They would also be acutely aware that, in pre-war Syria, their parents had the dignity of being employed or running their own businesses, in other words of being largely self-sufficient and covering their needs independently. They would send their children to UNRWA schools and use our health centers, but otherwise not require any relief or emergency services”, UNRWA’s Commissioner-General further stated.

“When the conflict began and fighting engulfed several of the neighborhoods in which Palestine refugees had lived for decades, they became yet another generation of Palestinians to endure the trauma of displacement and dispossession. To the stories of their families in 1948 and 1967, the younger Palestine refugees would now add their own dramatic accounts of loss of relatives, friends, neighbors, homes and livelihoods.”

According to Krähenbühl, the Syrian conflict has impacted Palestine refugees elsewhere in Syria as well. There used to be 560’000 countrywide, mainly in Aleppo, Homs, Hama, Latakia, Damascus and Dera’a. Today, some 440,000 Palestine refugees remain, more than half of them are internally displaced, and nearly all require sustained humanitarian assistance. Roughly 120,000 Palestine refugees have fled Syria since 2011 to Lebanon and Jordan, but also Turkey and beyond. In Syria, 18 UNRWA staff members were killed and some 28 missing since the conflict began.

Short URL : http://www.actionpal.org.uk/en/post/8445

Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) warned of the scale of destruction he has witnessed in Yarmouk Camp for Palestinian refugees, south of Damascus.

“When last visiting the Yarmouk refugee camp, in Damascus, I was confronted with a scale of devastation unlike anything I had witnessed before in almost three decades of work in war zones around the world”, said Krähenbühl. “Standing in these fields of ruin, I saw signs everywhere of the appalling human cost of an unforgiving conflict, which has torn apart the lives of millions of Syrians. I was also reminded of what makes the tragedy of Palestine refugees in Syria so particularly unique.”

“Young Palestinians growing up in Yarmouk before the war would have spent the first years of their life trying to come to grips with their family’s history and the stories of exodus from cities whose names they know but whose features they have never seen. They would listen to the memories of their parents and grand-parents and long for a just solution to their plight”, he added.

“They would also be acutely aware that, in pre-war Syria, their parents had the dignity of being employed or running their own businesses, in other words of being largely self-sufficient and covering their needs independently. They would send their children to UNRWA schools and use our health centers, but otherwise not require any relief or emergency services”, UNRWA’s Commissioner-General further stated.

“When the conflict began and fighting engulfed several of the neighborhoods in which Palestine refugees had lived for decades, they became yet another generation of Palestinians to endure the trauma of displacement and dispossession. To the stories of their families in 1948 and 1967, the younger Palestine refugees would now add their own dramatic accounts of loss of relatives, friends, neighbors, homes and livelihoods.”

According to Krähenbühl, the Syrian conflict has impacted Palestine refugees elsewhere in Syria as well. There used to be 560’000 countrywide, mainly in Aleppo, Homs, Hama, Latakia, Damascus and Dera’a. Today, some 440,000 Palestine refugees remain, more than half of them are internally displaced, and nearly all require sustained humanitarian assistance. Roughly 120,000 Palestine refugees have fled Syria since 2011 to Lebanon and Jordan, but also Turkey and beyond. In Syria, 18 UNRWA staff members were killed and some 28 missing since the conflict began.

Short URL : http://www.actionpal.org.uk/en/post/8445