Palestinian Refugees - Camps

Palestinian Refugees - Camps

Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East(UNRWA) , was established by United Nations General Assembly resolution 302 (IV) of 8 December 1949 to carry out direct relief and works programmes for Palestine refugees. The Agency began operations on 1 May 1950. In the absence of a solution to the Palestine refugee problem, the General Assembly has repeatedly renewed UNRWA's mandate, most recently extending it until 30 June 2002.

Since its establishment, the Agency has delivered its services in times of relative calm in the Middle East, and in times of hostilities. It has fed, housed and clothed tens of thousands of fleeing refugees and at the same time educated and given health care to hundreds of thousands of young refugees.

UNRWA is unique in terms of its long-standing commitment to one group of refugees and its contributions to the welfare and human development of four generations of Palestine refugees. Originally envisaged as a temporary organization, the Agency has gradually adjusted its programmes to meet the changing needs of the refugees. Today, UNRWA is the main provider of basic services - education, health, relief and social services - to over 3.6 million registered Palestine refugees in its five fields of operations: Jordan, Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Some 1.1 million refugees live in 59 recognized camps, and UNRWA's services are located in or near these camps where there are large concentrations of refugees.

Unlike other United Nations organizations which work through local authorities or executing agencies, UNRWA provides its services directly to Palestine refugees. It plans and carries out its own activities and projects, and builds and administers facilities such as schools and clinics. The Agency currently operates or sponsors over 900 installations with 22,000 staff throughout its area of operations. Because UNRWA services such as education and health care are the type of services normally provided within the public sector, the Agency cooperates closely with governmental authorities in the area of operations, who also provide some services to Palestine refugees

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