GAZA, 11th April 2008: The Deputy Commissioner General of UNRWA, Mr Filippo Grandi, has inaugurated new housing for over a hundred families near the Nahr el Bared Camp in North Lebanon, which was destroyed by fighting last year. This will bring the total number of temporary shelters UNRWA has built in the Adjacent Area to Nahr el Bared to 570, providing 440 families with housing.
The European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) has generously donated funds for the construction of temporary housing for refugees from Nahr el Bared and at a Press Conference in Tripoli today the EC representative, Ambassador Patrick Laurent, announced a further donation of 6,4 million euros to the Nahr el Bared Emergency Appeal. “Our emergency work for millions of refugees has never been so urgent or important”, said Grandi today. “With this donation, the Europeans are again demonstrating in a very real manner their engagement with the work of UNRWA and their commitment to the Palestine refugees. I thank the governments and people of the EC, our single largest multilateral donor”.
Talking about the new donation from the EC through the Instrument of Stability, UNRWA Deputy Commissioner General, Filippo Grandi said that this donation “will help us with one of the more visible aspects of the reconstruction of Nahr El Bared camp since approximately half of the donation will be used to remove rubble from the site – a prerequisite for being able to rebuild and thereby allowing people to move back to their homes,”
Announcing the inauguration of new shelters today, Mr Grandi said, “This significantly takes the pressure off the nearby Beddawi Camp, where most of the refugees from Nahr el Bared have been living since the conflict last year. Indeed, I am pleased to announce that the schools in Beddawi, which had been used to house people escaping the fighting, are now cleared of refugees from Nahr el Bared”. About 33,000 people lived in Nahr el Bared camp before it was destroyed last year.
The Government of Lebanon is soon expected to announce the date of a pledging conference at which donors will be asked to fund the reconstruction of Nahr el Bared and its Adjacent Area, the socio-economic recovery of the area, and the rehabilitation of Beddawi Camp. Preparations for the reconstruction of the camp are progressing and it is expected that clearing of rubble from the site can start soon.
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