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Source: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
10 June 2008





THE CRISIS AND THE RESPONSE

Three months of armed conflict between Fatah Al-Islam and the Lebanese Army ending in September 2007 left Nahr el-Bared Camp (NBC) in ruins and its Adjacent Area seriously damaged. Since the outbreak of the crisis in May 2007, UNRWA has worked to meet the humanitarian needs of the displaced population through the generosity of donors in response to the Flash Appeal and the Emergency Appeal. The Appeals covered relief services such as temporary shelter, food and non-food items, water and sanitation, health care and education, as well as a comprehensive damage assessment and a planning process for rubble removal and recovery and reconstruction of NBC. In April 2008, access to the camp was granted by the Lebanese Army to conduct risk and survey assessments in preparation for the rubble removal and reconstruction process. On 5 June rubble removal began.

RELIEF ACTIVITIES

Temporary Shelter and Infrastructure

UNRWA aims to provide adequate and safe accommodations for the affected population from NBC. Initially, most of the displaced families took shelter in nearby Beddawi Camp, with host families and in public buildings, placing serious strain on infrastructure and goodwill in the already crowded camp. Temporary shelter solutions included repairs of existing shelters and construction of temporary shelters in the Adjacent Area of the original camp, and provision of rental subsidies.

Accomplishments
· 2,000 (exactly) of the 5,553 NBC displaced families have now returned to the accessible parts of the NBC Area, including 713 to their own homes, 506 to rented accommodations and 429 to temporary shelters constructed by UNRWA. The number living with host families has dropped to 522 throughout the country, down from 684 in January this year and 1843 in September 2007.
· A final 580 temporary shelter units are planned on two plots of land that have been leased. The tender for construction of 232 units on one plot has been advertised; survey work on the second is complete. All new units will be constructed in concrete, in three different sizes, and will be completed by November 2008 - January 2009.
· Heat and noise mitigation work in the steel prefab temporary shelter units will be complete by end June.
· Structural repairs have been made by UNRWA or are in process in 115 buildings in the Adjacent Area. NGOs are working on a further 60 buildings.
· A self-help program by partner NGOs helped over 1,000 families to repair lightly damaged shelters, using 400 tool kits provided by UNRWA, and 280 families benefited from special kits for shelters with burn damage.
· 1,500 shelters were repaired in Beddawi.
· 11 damaged or unfinished buildings (“collective centres”) were rented and upgraded, and now house 160 families.
· Tenders have been issued for road works in three sectors of the Adjacent Area.

Relief and Recovery

UNRWA continues to respond to the basic needs of affected population. The main activities include:

Accomplishments
· 11 rounds of food parcel distributions have been made to all displaced families. The 11th distribution in May reached 5,180 displaced refugee families and 107 Lebanese families. Ten rounds of baby food distribution have been made. Non-food items including mattresses, hygiene kits, and cooking stoves, were made to all displaced Palestinian families and to up to 1,500 host families.
· 3,427 applications for rental subsidies were received and reviewed for the third cycle of three months’ grants. As of end May 2,937 had been approved.
· The report on a complete assessment of the UNRWA food distribution programme carried out by WFP and UNRWA was made available. Recommendations include: varying the size of packages distributed, discontinuing distributions for special hardship cases, and instituting a coupon/ration card system for basic food items. The recommendations are under discussion.
· Activities in support of livelihood recovery include an UNRWA assessment of pre-existing NBC businesses; regular meetings of a Livelihood Cluster work group co-led by UNRWA and ILO; commencement of a comprehensive socio-economic assessment; and preparations for an Emergency Employment Service Centre to provide assistance to small businesses, training opportunities, cash for work, and more sustainable employment. UNRWA has agreed to host a data base of small- and medium-sized businesses.

Education

UNRWA has provided education services to all displaced and affected students.

Accomplishments
· All 9,742 affected refugee students in the North Lebanon area from grades 1 to 12 were able to complete the 2006-7 academic year, and receive the required number of hours for the 2007-8 school year.
· Three prefabricated schools were installed, and classrooms leased in three Lebanese schools.
· All schools previously used as emergency shelters were vacated and have been returned to use as schools.
· Two more schools are planned to accommodate displaced students in the North Lebanon area. Land has been leased for one of the schools, which is scheduled to be ready for the start of the 2008-9 school year. Land has not yet been found for the last prefab school needed.
· A lease agreement has been signed for a Vocational Training Centre.
· All displaced students were provided with textbooks, desks, chairs, supplies and transportation.
· 16 UNRWA teachers completed a training course in psychosocial activity instruction. An NGO will provide training to 40 additional teachers.

Health

UNRWA provides for the health care needs of the displaced and affected population.

Accomplishments
· UNRWA has provided secondary healthcare services to all displaced patients. The UNRWA health clinic in Beddawi Camp initially operated on two shifts, seven days a week to meet increased needs, and two health clinics were established in the Adjacent Area that now see an average of 210 patients daily.
· Land has been leased for a fully equipped prefab health clinic to replace a small, rented clinic that was opened in October.
· Five area hospitals are under contract provide radiology and laboratory services, specialists’ consul­tation, and in-patient services to refugee patients.
· A new dental unit is now operating in the Adjacent Area.
· Preventive health care services include regular vaccination campaigns, health education, and safety checks.

Regular home visits are made to the elderly, newborns and nursing mothers.
· Medication is being provided free of charge.
· A Health Cluster work group meets regularly and has drafted a health action plan.
· A study was done in response to fear of outbreak of sand fly fever; spraying is underway.

Water, Sanitation and Electricity

UNRWA has provided basic water and sanitation services as well as electricity to the affected population in Adjacent Areas of NBC, and additional water to residents of Beddawi Camp to meet increased needs. UNRWA and its partners have also worked to rehabilitate the extensively damaged water and sewage network in the Adjacent Area.

Accomplishments
§ Phase I of the restoration of the water supply and sewerage systems in the Adjacent Area is complete. More than 5,000 m of household water supply lines, 90 service connections and over 2,300 m of sewer lines have been installed.
· Funding has been approved for Phase II restoration works, to include installation of 7000 m of secondary water lines and 200 service and house connections.
· In the absence of municipal services, UNRWA continues to collect, compact and dispose of domestic refuse.
· In the first phase of a self-help programme, residents of 200 shelters in two sectors of the Adjacent Area have replaced sinks, toilets, faucets or water heaters. Work in up to 500 more shelters will be completed by 31 August.
· All former subscribers have been reconnected to the electric network in two sectors of the Adjacent Area. With funding from UNRWA, UNDP is working with Electricite du Liban to reconnect houses in the three other accessible sectors of the Adjacent Area. Temporary electricity to shelters not yet connected to the network is provided by UNRWA generators.

Protection

OHCHR leads a Protection Cluster that works in cooperation with UNRWA to ensure Palestinians af­fected by the conflict return with dignity to a safe environment in NBC.

Accomplishments
· The OHCHR Protection Coordinator stationed in Tripoli has begun work.
· The cluster work group will be addressing recent concerns raised including reports of arbitrary arrests and detentions and access to NBC for human rights groups.
· A representative of the Protection Cluster will attend the other cluster meetings in order to raise and address protection concerns in each sector.
· The cluster group has worked with Human Rights NGOs, other UN Agencies, and community leaders to strengthen their capacity to monitor and document human rights viola­tions, and to analyse information to determine patterns and trends of violations.
· Prevention measures, such as mine awareness campaigns, psycho-social and recreational activities have been implemented in cooperation with UNICEF and NGOs.
· Discussions are underway with residents on type and placement of recreational equipment, beginning with the temporary shelter plots.
· Fifty families a day are being allowed to enter NBC each day
to search for belongings.

RECONSTRUCTION

In addition to the relief operations, the Agency is preparing for the reconstruction of NBC.

Design for the Reconstruction of NBC

An UNRWA team, in cooperation with the locally led Palestinian Recon­struction Commission for Nahr el-Bared (NBRC), and popular committees used an all-inclusive community participation process to develop a preliminary master plan, which was approved by the Prime Minister on 18 February.

The reconstruction management including detailed design, tender documentation, and construction supervision will be outsourced through an international tender.

Accomplishments
Invitation for prequalification of bidders for management of the reconstruction of NBC was issued in May. Tender documents will be sent to pre-qualified bidders this month.
· The family structures of the original camp were mapped, in an effort to determine pre-existing social, spatial and urban conditions. A 3-dimensional model was developed (see photo).
· An UNRWA/NBRC preliminary design team is working on the first 120 buildings to be constructed, and has shared test blocks with the community in a series of workshops.
· Detailed cost estimates for NBC reconstruction and a feasibility study for infrastructure are complete.
· On 9 June a first conference was held with donors as preparation for the conference on the finance of reconstruction and recovery to be held in Vienna 23 June.

Rubble removal

Virtually all buildings in NBC were destroyed, leaving some 600,000 m3 of rubble to be removed.

Accomplishments
· A risk assessment and survey of the camp were carried out by the Mines Advisory Group and UNRWA staff, in coordination with the Lebanon Mine Action Centre.
· A MoU has been signed with UNDP to coordinate rubble removal in NBC. Contractors have been pre-qualified and the tender has been sent to those who qualified. A site visit of these bidders is planned for 16-21 June. Tender evaluation will take place in 2nd half of July.
· On 5 June rubble removal began, making way for the reconstruction of NBC with the demolition of the former UNRWA Compound, under the supervision of explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams from the Lebanese Government.
· A damage assessment of the prime areas has now been completed.
· UNRWA removed 75,000 m3 of rubble from accessible sections of the Adjacent Area. Tender docu­ments have been prepared for a second phase of rubble removal there.
· Town hall meetings are planned, to discuss the rubble removal process and reconstruction with the community.

Project Management and Funding

A Project Management Unit (PMU) based in Tripoli was formed in November 2007 to oversee all NBC operational aspects, including relief and reconstruction. Staff is being recruited when appropriate, including a seasoned international who joined the team on 3 June to take the post of Head of Recon­struction. PMU staff has produced a Relief, Recovery and Reconstruction Framework and a compre­hensive Work Plan.

Funding received to date is nearly complete to finance all Emergency Appeal operations to 31 August, 2008. A Relief & Early Recovery Appeal will be ready in June to cover needs until December 2009.

CHALLENGES

UNRWA faces continuing legal challenges, including: land to build temporary units; the formal permission to remove rubble from NBC; the expropriation of NBC land from local land owners; licence for safe dis­posal sites for (non-)hazardous waste; and, access issues for most of the Prime Areas and recurring delays at checkpoints for UNRWA contractors and NGO staff.

UPCOMING PLANS

An overview of planned activities in the upcoming three months is given below. Dates are subject to change pending access delays or other unforeseen circumstances.

June
· Sand fly eradication campaign continues
· Rubble removal and de-mining continues in the former UNRWA compound
· 12 June: visit of donor government representatives to NBC
· 13 June: bids for construction of 232 temporary shelter units received
· 16 – 21 June: site visits for contractors that will bid on the rubble removal in the entire ‘Old camp’
· mid-June: tenders for rubble removal from the Adjacent Area submitted
· mid-June: tender for infrastructure works for a new prefab health centre and prefab school issued
· mid-June: a team from administrative services at UNRWA headquarters visits the PMU to expedite staffing needs
· 17 June: OCHA workshop for cluster leads
· 22 June: 12th cycle food distributions to all displaced families
· 23 June: conference on the finance and reconstruction of NBC, in Vienna
· end June: head of Rubble Removal operations joins PMU staff
· end June: work begins on a new temporary UNRWA PMU compound in Tripoli
· end June: completion of survey of NBC “footprint,” depending on access permission from the Lebanese Army
· June: Town hall meetings to discuss rubble removal and reconstruction with the community


July
· Town hall meetings to discuss rubble removal and reconstruction with the community continue
· Early July: works to mitigate heat and noise in steel prefab shelter units is complete
· Early July: rubble removal from compound completed; preparation for sorting unit of NBC rubble
· Early July: Design work complete for temporary shelter units in Plot 755
· 2nd week of July: rubble removal from the Adjacent Areas commences
· 14 July: tenders submitted for rubble removal
· mid-July: 4th cycle of rent subsidies to some 3,000 families
· mid-July: 13th cycle of food distributions to all displaced families
· mid-July: Phase I road repairs begin
· mid-July: installation of recreational equipment in two temporary shelter areas begins
· end July: comprehensive school maintenance begins
· end July: completion of infrastructure works for prefab health centre and school
· end July: winning bid of de-mining NGO approved
· end July: UNDP completes evaluation of rubble removal bidders
· end July: preparation of criteria for allocation of temporary shelter units
· end July: Phase II water supply--restoration of 7,000 m secondary water lines--is complete
· end July: rubble removal contractor selected
· end July: reconstruction management consultant mobilises

August
· UNDP rubble removal contractor mobilises
· Food and hygiene parcels distributed to all displaced families
· 15 August: Phase III water supply restoration complete
· 31 August: comprehensive school maintenance is complete
· 31 August: repairs to all wastewater networks in Adjacent Area are complete, assuming access is granted
· 31 August: Phase I self-help sanitary facilities upgrading project complete, up to 500 units upgraded
· 31 August: 4th prefab school completed


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