Lebanon News

Palestinians denied rations in Sidon camps as UN workers go on strike

The issue of UN food rations to Palestinian refugees yesterday sparked a sit-in at Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp and a two-day strike by the workers distributing supplies.

Up to 300 Palestinians demonstrated at the distribution centre of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (Unrwa) to protest at what they claim is a cut in the UN food ration.

Meanwhile, Unrwa workers went on strike over their claim for extra pay for what they

say is a 60 per cent increase in their workload.

Last week, the UN agency decided to distribute food rations to the 1,800 Palestinian families in the camp on a threemonthly basis instead of every two months.

Abed Makdah, the chairman of the Popular Committee of the Sidon camps of Ain al-Hilweh and Mieh Mieh, claimed last week that Unrwa had dropped rations of baby food and other items and cut the quota of powdered milk.

The workers said they are still being paid at the same rate despite distributing 80 tonnes of food over 17 days instead of 50 tonnes, but Unrwa has rejected their demand for extra pay for the increased work load.

The strike prevented 211 families from obtaining their rations. Protesters marched on the main Unrwa office chanting “death to Plaza”, in reference to the organisation’s director Wolfgang Plaza. A speaker denounced Plaza, a German, saying “Bonn was paying money and offering thousands of apologies to Jews” while Plaza “was preventing us getting food”.

The director yesterday met prime minister Rafik Hariri to brief him on the latest developments at the UN agency.





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