PRESS RELEASE: Relief Aid for Palestinians from Syria Focuses on Women

June 25, 2013 – As the number of Palestinians from Syria in Lebanon surpasses 50,000, ANERA (American Near East Refugee Aid) is launching its second emergency program, thanks to a second grant from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The new $250,000 OCHA grant will be supplemented by $300,000 from ANERA’s own funds and will focus on women’s needs.

ANERA  is working with its Lebanese partner Najdeh to distribute more than 6,000 quilts, 6,000 food and clothing vouchers, 6,000 personal kits, 1,550 family kits, hundreds of baby kit as well as dignity kits for women in Shatila and Burj el Barajneh camps located in the Beirut area.

ANERA was among the first to survey refugee needs in the camps to provide guidelines for emergency relief efforts. The assessment showed that 86% of Palestinians from Syria lack food and 59% of families live crammed into a single room with few basic amenities. In March 2013, a grant from OCHA helped ANERA implement a first emergency relief campaign. But more action was needed since more refugees are flooding into Lebanon and 90% of adult men among them are unemployed and unable to support their families.

ANERA’s innovative approach is adapted to conditions in the overcrowded camps: In addition to 1,550 refugee families, 530 host families also will benefit from distribution program. “Support should go to them too, because helping our hosts helps us as well,” suggests Suleiman from Al Bas camp.

Dima Zayat, ANERA’s health program manager in Lebanon says particular attention is being given to the role of women as the family’s main supporter. “Seven out of ten Palestinians refugees from Syria are women or children. A number of families have lost a father or husband. At the same time, a woman often spends her income on whatever she has on the family first.”

About ANERA

For more than 45 years, ANERA has been a leading provider of development, health, education, and employment programs to Palestinian communities and impoverished families throughout the Middle East. In FY 2013, the relief and development agency delivered more than $65 million in programs to the people of the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Jordan.

About OCHA

The UN agency is responsible for coordinating effective humanitarian action in partnership with national and international actors in order to alleviate human suffering in disasters and emergencies.

About Najdeh

Established in 1978, Najdeh is an independent, registered Lebanese non profit working in and around Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon in the areas of development and education, including the empowerment of women.