Lebanon: UNRWA aid cuts prompt hunger strike, more protests

Lebanon: UNRWA aid cuts prompt hunger strike, more protests
Palestinians in refugee camps across Lebanon held new protests against cuts by UNRWA on Monday, as a Palestinian refugee went on hunger strike to highlight the issue.
2 min read
15 February, 2016
There seems to be no solution in sight for UNRWA's funding crisis [Anadolu]
Palestinian refugees in Lebanon held new protests on Monday on the back of cuts to aid provided by the UN Palestine refugee agency (UNRWA), closing down its headquarters in Beirut for the third time in two months.

The refugees prevented UNRWA staff and vehicles from entering. 

There were similar protests held outside UNRWA offices in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.
Meanwhile, a Palestinian man began an indefinite hunger strike on Monday in south Lebanon in protest over the recent aid cuts made by the agency, according to Lebanon's state-run National News Agency.

The NNA said that Palestinian national Haitham al-Ghazi went on hunger strike in the Mia Mia refugee camp as he sat on the ground in front of a UNRWA office inside the premises, chanting “Death and not humiliation”.

Last month, a 23-year-old Palestinian set himself on fire outside a clinic managed by the UNRWA in the Burj al-Shamali camp in the southern district of Tyre over aid cuts.

For months, Palestinians in all 12 refugee camps across Lebanon have been protesting the cuts, which UNRWA says it was forced to make due to its budget deficit caused by lack of funding.

The UN agency began halting monthly payments for housing subsidies in July 2015. UNRWA also cut down on its monthly food stipend of $27 per person. This was followed by cuts in healthcare subsidies.

Around 400,000 Palestinians live in refugee camps across Lebanon, an estimated 65 percent of them believed to be living below the poverty line.

Palestinians, who say these cuts have dramatically affected their livelihoods, have warned of civil disobedience in all 12 camps if UNRWA fails to back down on its cuts, according to The Daily Star.