AMMAN — The United Nations appealed on Monday for $27 million (€20 million) to help hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees trapped in Syria buy food during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

“As we come up to Ramadan, we can foresee a prospect of thousands of Palestinian refugees going hungry because very simply they do not have enough money to buy food,” Pierre Krahenbuhl, commissioner general of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA), told reporters in Amman.

“Their livelihoods and often their houses have been destroyed. The $27 million requested would enable us to distribute cash to 440,000 of the needy through our proven and very reliable cash-distribution network.”

The fasting month of Ramadan starts in late June.

Krahenbuhl said there were approximately 500,000 Palestinian refugees registered in Syria at the outset of the conflict.

Half of those have been displaced, of whom 52,000 have fled to Lebanon and 14,000 to Jordan, he added.

UNRWA has nine registered camps for Palestinian refugees in Syria, housing those who fled or were forced from their homes when the state of Israel was created in 1948, and their descendants.

“Palestine refugees in Syria are deeply affected by the armed conflict… Like Syrians, they struggle with death, displacement, with hunger, trauma, with injuries, with all the effects of war that have come to Syria,” said Michael Kingsley, head of UNRWA in Syria.

Cash-strapped UNRWA cares for some five million Palestinian refugees around the region. Its budget deficit currently stands at $69 million.