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Source: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
31 May 2007

Press Statement

UNRWA Beirut

Eleven days have past since the fighting started in and around Nahr EL Bared camp and the difficulties of thousands of Palestine Refugees continue. Around 6000 families have so far fled Nahr EL Bared, most of them took refuge in Beddawi.

The over-crowdedness of Beddawi camp where the original population has more than doubled, is putting pressure on the refugees, on UNRWA and on the facilities of the camp. From a psychological point of view, the refugees and the displaced families are suffering from stress, anxiety and depression. Children are traumatized and exhibiting behavioural problems as the future is unclear to all. Over 2,500 of the displaced persons are living in UNRWA schools in and around Beddawi, which do not have adequate washing and toilet facilities; private facilities in host households are also coming under strain. The camp’s infrastructure is stretched beyond capacity, however, the electricity, water and sanitation networks are so far coping with the excess demand as UNRWA strengthened those networks and is pumping more water and has distributed water tanks in the camp.

UNRWA in collaboration with officials in Tripoli is now preparing temporary alternative accommodation for some displaced families near Beddawi and in other locations in Tripoli to relieve the congestion of the camp pending the return of the displaced to Nahr El Bared.

In addition to UNRWA’s normal operations in Lebanon, it has established an emergency centre in Tripoli and brought in support staff from its headquarters. The Agency has also expanded its health services in Beddawi camp, through extension of the opening hours of its regular health centre and the deployment of a mobile health team to the camp and surrounding areas. Additional staff and medical supplies have been deployed to the area. Meanwhile, the Agency has also signed contracts with a private pharmacy and an additional hospital, to ensure continued access for refugee patients to secondary and tertiary care and specialist medicines.

On psycho-social support and recreational activities, UNRWA is coordinating with non governmental organizations on activities for children and adults.

In terms of relief assistance, UNRWA has distributed so far to displaced families in Beddawi camp and other areas in Lebanon (Tyre, Saida, Beirut and Beqa’a): 10109 mattresses, 9521 covers, 9383 pillows 2840 hygiene kits, 3894 food parcels (each containing food supplies for 5 persons for 30 days) and bottled drinking water.

UNRWA is working in close cooperation with other UN Agencies, the ICRC, the Lebanese Red Cross, the Higher Relief Council (HRC), local and international NGOs and other parties to assess and provide for the needs of the people of Nahr El Bared Camp, both inside and outside the camp.

UNRWA seizes this opportunity to express its thanks to all these organizations for their great support.

Hoda Samra Souaiby
Public Information Officer

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