On 20 May 2007 fierce clashes between the radical group Fatah al Islam (FAI) and the Lebanese Army (LA) erupted in Tripoli (northern Lebanon) and quickly spread to the nearby Nahr el-Bared camp (NBC). Due to the fighting, over 31,000 Palestine refugees fled their homes in and around NBC, most taking refuge in the neighboring Beddawi Camp and other Palestine refugee camps in Lebanon. The struggle for control of Nahr el-Bared, which involved heavy aerial and artillery bombardment, was the most serious case of internal fighting in Lebanon since the end of the Civil War in 1990. The Government of Lebanon declared an end to hostilities on 2 September after a three month campaign during which 169 soldiers, 287 combatants and 42 civilians were killed. The return of refugees to NBC has actually started the 10 of October 2007.
UNRWA Lebanon, in cooperation with other UN Agencies (including UNDP, UNICEF, ILO, WHO, OHCHR, UNFPA and FAO), government entities (e.g. Higher Relief Commission-HRC and the Lebanese Palestinian Dialogue Committee-LPDC) and local and international NGO’s, has coordinated the implementation of several programs to respond to the immediate needs of the humanitarian emergency in north Lebanon, trough a UN cluster approach. The Flash Appeal (covering the period June-September 2007) was fully funded and it is worth noting that humanitarian support was considered good or acceptable by the majority of the displaced population.
Achievements & Expected Results
UNDP has been working in local development in the North during the last five years. In the response to the NBC crisis UNDP has provided continuous support to UNRWA, including the preparation of the Return Plan and the early recovery component of the Flash Appeal and the Emergency Appeal (September 2007-August 2008). UNDP has also supported national capacities of the Lebanese Palestinian Dialogue Committee (LPDC) and the HRC, including additional human resources, equipment and the provision of satellite images. UNDP has also provided technical support in some areas (demining, rubble removal, environmental assessment) and support to EDL and UNRWA on the temporary electricity repairs. This experience constitutes a solid platform for UNDP support to early recovery in NBC surrounding areas.
It is expected that an integrated UNCT intervention will take place in support to early recovery of NBC and surrounding areas at two levels:
(i) inside the camp (through UNRWA Emergency Appeal early recovery intervention )
(ii) in the surrounding communities in order to reduce the tensions between Lebanese and Palestinian population. The present project proposal represents a first step in responding the immediate needs of the NBC surrounding communities, amongst the poorest of Lebanon. In order to ensure a joint approach, UNDP will work closely with the RC office in Tripoli, and liaise closely with other UN agencies involved in the area, such as ILO (restoring livelihoods) and UNRWA (dialogue between Lebanese and palestinians as feasible).A close linkage is also been developed with the WB, the EC and other bilateral stakeholders.
The Government’s NBC Appeal for these 6 communities include: (i) financial assistance; (ii) subsidies; (iii) repair of public assets; (iv) repair and replacement of private assets, and (v) expropriation of private land within the NBC for the reconstruction of the camp on the same location within the municipality of Muhammara. However, the project will focus exclusively in the restoring of livelihoods through repair/upgrade of: public assets (e.g. repairing part of the 43 km of roads damaged, sewerage network, public lighting and other social infrastructure affected); private assets (support to training, Micro and Small Enterprises-MSE and cooperatives); and some support to the coordination and implementation of early recovery interventions, mainly through UNDP’s programme in support to the LPDC (human resources and transparent tracking of donor resources).