The West Bank covers 5,500 square kilometres with an estimated population of 2.4 million.
A quarter of the refugees live in 19 refugee camps, with most others in West Bank towns and villages.
West Bank UNRWA Camps
Facts and figures
- 741,409 registered refugees
- 19 camps
- 98 schools, with 52,633 pupils
- Three vocational and technical training centres
- 42 primary health centres
- 15 community rehabilitation centres
- 16 women’s programme centres
West Bank camp residents have been hard hit by closures imposed on the West Bank by the Israeli authorities, as they are largely dependent on income from work inside Israel.
The camps are extremely overcrowded, with a lack of space, particularly parks and playgrounds, for children to play.
Unemployment levels are particularly high among West Bank refugees. Households spend an average of half their income on food, leaving very little to spend on other essentials such as shelter and education. This encourages a cycle of debt, further entrenching poverty.
Overcrowding is a huge problem in UNRWA’s schools, with an average of 50 pupils per classroom. A number of schools share the same school building, which reduces teaching time, while others operate in rented premises.
Many schools have also been damaged by Israeli military activity since September 2000.
The high population density and rapidly growing population has massively strained the camp infrastructure. Residents frequently expand their homes with no proper planning and old sewage networks are unable to cope.