(Human Rights Report)
According to field estimates, the
Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are around 250 thousand, most of which are
distributed among 12 camps and 156 gatherings. Although the challenges that
Palestinians face are the same in all camps, refugees in Beqaa suffer
additionally from the heating issue every year.
Around 15000 refugees live in Beqaa,
mostly concentrated in Saadnayel and Bar Elias gatherings and Al Jaleel camp. With the
beginning of winter, heavy rain, snowfalls, and the great drop in temperatures
reaching -5°C, the refugees in Beqaa are concerned about securing heating
The necessity of Fuel for Palestinian Refugees and its cost:
considered to be the main source of heating for refugees especially with the
lack of electricity. What makes it worse is that the unemployment rate among
Palestinians has exceeded 93% according to recent claims of UNRWA, making it
difficult for them to afford fuel needed for heating due to its high cost in
light of the economic crisis. It is noteworthy that a barrel of 200 ml of fuel
costs 220$. While a family consumes minimum one barrel per month, they will
need 1000$ throughout the course of winter.
Measures done by UNRWA to combat the crisis and their effectivity:
UNRWA is directly responsible for providing the Palestinian refugees a
dignified life, and thus is responsible for supplying families with fuel that
is necessary for heating. Last year, UNRWA distributed fuel oil to a number of
families among the Palestinian refugees but wasn’t done as required due to the
First: the distribution targeted a certain group of the
refugees, namely Palestinian refugees coming from Syria and those who are in
extreme poverty (SHC), and thus a great number of Palestinian refugees
suffering the freezing wintering were excluded from the distribution.
Second: the quantity distributed didn’t exceed one barrel
for each family and was done only once, which did not reach the minimum amount
needed for heating throughout the winter.
beginning of winter, UNRWA haven’t announced any statement concerning the
mechanism of fuel distribution among Palestinian families in Beqaa for this
year, but merely made promises without translating them into reality.
Based on all
the above, because we couldn’t reach the administrator of UNRWA in Beqaa
despite frequent attempts, and based on the essence of its work in monitoring
Palestinian refugees’ conditions, we in the Palestinian Association for Human
Rights (Witness) recommend the following:
Intensifying UNRWA’s effort on financial
resources mobilization to maintain fulfilling its responsibilities towards
Palestinian refugees in Beqaa and securing fuel oil needed for heating or
providing heating allowance.
Working intensely to secure funds for
winter clothes and distributing them among Palestinian refugees in Beqaa
especially for children.
Distributing food baskets or money for
families to support them during winter.
Palestinian Liberation Organization taking
serious responsibility towards Palestinian refugees and in particular in Beqaa
and contributing in supplying them with the fuel they need.
Civil society institutions to have great
responsibility in terms of financing and implementing programs related to
helping refugees concerning fuel issue.