Claudio Cordone, the director of UNRWA affairs in Lebanon, visits a school in the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)
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A disparity between the results of Lebanon's first official census of Palestinian refugees, which registered just 174,422 individuals in the country, and the 469,331 refugees registered with UNRWA has highlighted a long-standing misconception about the U.N. agency's registration system.Focusing on the status of Palestinian refugees, Husseini has closely worked with UNRWA throughout the region, writing on the agency for years. In 2004, he began conducting research for a study with the Geneva-based Graduate Institute on the living conditions of refugees registered with UNRWA in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.UNRWA's figure of Palestinian refugees registered in Lebanon has widely been cited by local and international media given the lack of credible competing information.Huda Samra, spokesperson for UNRWA in Lebanon, corroborated with The Daily Star that refugees were only deregistered from the agency if they were reported as deceased.The sum of individuals attending UNRWA's schools and vocational centers, obtaining health care, and receiving food assistance amounts to 259,000 refugees in Lebanon.The number would also include Palestinian refugees from Syria who have fled the war to Lebanon.
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