Brussels, 3 August 2007
Lebanon: the Commission allocates €4 million in humanitarian aid for victims of the fighting in Nahr el Bared refugee camp
The European Commission has allocated a further €4 million to help victims of the fighting in the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr el Bared. The aid is primarily aimed at the Palestinian refugees who fled the camp seeking refuge in other camps and locations in Lebanon as well as other vulnerable people directly affected by the conflict including Lebanese. At the end of May, the Commission committed an initial €500,000 to help displaced refugees. The funds are being channelled through the Commission’s Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) under the responsibility of Commissioner Louis Michel.
Commissioner Michel expressed hope that the fighting in and around Nahr el Bared would end very soon. "Too many people have been traumatised," he declared. "It is time to put the violence behind us, consolidate peace and rebuild the infrastructure. "The Commission's support is designed to help the victims of the fighting resume their lives as soon as possible. There is already far too much suffering in Lebanon and the wider Middle East."
More than 31,000 Palestinian refugees in the Nahr El Bared camp have fled the fighting initiated by the Fatah al Islam faction. People living around the camp have also been affected. More than half of those displaced found a safe, although crowded, haven in the neighbouring refugee camp of Beddawi, almost doubling its population in the process. Others have been accommodated in public buildings and other refugee camps. On the first day of the crisis, the Commission earmarked €500,000 in humanitarian aid to cover the most urgent needs.
The Commission's Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) also participated with its partners in a coordination exercise led by UNRWA aimed at preparing a more comprehensive humanitarian response.
The fighting has resulted in widespread destruction in the camp. The new funding will help meet a range of vital needs including basic shelters for those whose dwellings have been destroyed or badly damaged, and essential supplies and services.
The aid operations will be implemented by ECHO partners including international NGOs, UN agencies and the Red Cross/Crescent movement, in coordination with other stakeholders.