UNRWA Beirut – November 1, 2007
Three weeks after the first refugees were allowed to return to Nahr el-Bared camp, UNRWA is able to report on the progress of the ongoing relief operations.
Acting Director of UNRWA Affairs Lebanon, Sven Berthelsen visited the accessible area of the camp today and was noticed improving conditions.
“There is no doubt there is a long road back to full recovery and conditions are less then ideal- but I was buoyed by what I saw. The shelters UNRWA constructed near Nahr el-Bared have electricity and water connected and UNRWA has also finished erecting one of three prefabricated school, ahead of schedule with 24 classrooms ready for use by students shortly,” Mr Berthelsen said.
Mr Berthelsen also said some 1184 families had so far returned to various sectors of Nahr el-Bared camp.
Since the end of the conflict, UNRWA has assisted more then 3,000 families to move from Government schools, and other accommodation, with rent subsidies, provision of temporary shelter near Nahr el-Bared camp. This has helped ease overcrowding in near by Beddawi camp where most of the displaced were accommodated until recently.
“There are almost 5,550 families in need of continuing shelter and UNRWA has provided this through constructing of temporary shelters, rental subsidies, support to families hosting displaced persons, and rehabilitation of habitable homes in the camp,” he said.
With the academic year having already begun for some students, UNRWA is working to ensure the ongoing education of almost 10,000 UNRWA pupils in the north Lebanon area with minimal disruption.
“UNRWA wants to guarantee their education continues with as little disruption as possible,” Mr Berthelsen said.
“The fighting in northern Lebanon had an adverse affect on Palestinian and Lebanese communities and both will require assistance to recover. In September, UNRWA launched its Emergency Appeal for US $55 million to aid the displaced Palestine refugees of Nahr el-Bared camp. At the same time, the Lebanese Government launched a separate appeal for US $28 million for the affected Lebanese population.
“To date, almost US $24 million has been pledged to UNRWA by the international donor community. We are hopeful that further contributions will be made in over to meet the displaced populations’ needs,” he said.