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United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
6 June 2008
Palestine Refugee Camp
UNRWA Relief, Recovery
The UNRWA Relief, Recovery and Reconstruction Framework sets out UNRWA’s strategy for Nahr el-Bared Palestine refugee camp (NBC) from mid-2008 to the end of 2011, around three overall outcomes: 1) Ensuring that the humanitarian needs of the displaced NBC refugees continue to be met during the recovery and reconstruction phases; 2) that the basic preconditions for the recovery of physical and economic infrastructure are put in place, and that 3) NBC is rebuilt on its original location and all displaced refugees are re-housed in the reconstructed camp by 2011. The Relief, Recovery and Reconstruction Framework is a document in progress that will be periodically updated to reflect the changing situation, activities and the needs of the displaced refugees during the period of prolonged displacement and until all families are re-housed in the reconstructed camp and livelihoods have been re-established.
The siege and destruction of NBC (May to September 2007), left thousands of Palestine refugee families in poverty without homes and livelihoods. UNRWA received funding from donors through a Flash Appeal and Emergency Appeal in 2007, to support massive emergency operations to provide food, clothes, basic household items, and emergency schooling, psychosocial activities and health services for the 5,449 displaced families. The UNRWA schools, health centre, other Agency installations and the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) clinic in the UNRWA compound next to NBC were also destroyed during the conflict. The Agency has subsequently built, to date, three temporary prefabricated schools and opened two temporary health centres to ensure that basic schooling for the children continues and that the refugees have access to basic health services as well as being provided with full hospitalisation costs and life-saving medications.
UNRWA, in coordination with the UN Country Team and UN Resident Coordinator’s Office, and working with the ICRC, and national and international NGOs through six clusters (shelter/watsan, health, education, protection, livelihoods, food security), has continued to provide relief assistance throughout the last year and in December 2007, established the Nahr el-Bared Project Management Unit (PMU) to oversee and coordinate the Agency’s response to the NBC crisis. To date, three temporary shelter sites have been constructed (and two others are being planned) in the Adjacent Area next to NBC for the housing of families who were living in unacceptable conditions in Beddawi camp. Buildings in the Adjacent Area are being repaired and upgraded to provide additional accommodation for multiple families. UNRWA and partners have carried out repairs to infrastructure and damaged buildings in the Adjacent Area and emergency water and electricity supplies are being provided until the Lebanese local authorities and utility providers are able to resume normal services.
Relief assistance will continue to be provided during the recovery and reconstruction phases on a needs basis. Relief assistance and recovery activities, including livelihoods interventions, will be directed by the results of a comprehensive socio-economic survey that UNRWA is outsourcing (the preliminary outcomes of this survey will be published in July 2008). Support to livelihoods recovery includes the provision of start-up grants for micro-enterprises, the establishment of an Emergency Employment Services Centre in North Lebanon, new vocational training centres and training programmes for school leavers that will be organised in coordination with the ILO. In addition, a cash for work component will be integrated into UNRWA’s recovery and reconstruction activities to provide temporary employment opportunities. UNRWA will launch a Relief/Early Recovery Appeal for the period September 2008 to December 2009, to raise funds for this continuing relief assistance and early recovery initiatives.
The majority of families fleeing the conflict sought refuge in and around Beddawi Palestine refugee camp on the outskirts of Tripoli, nearly doubling this camp’s population overnight. Displaced NBC families were provided with temporary accommodation in UNRWA schools, community centres and clubs, and with host families. However, the overcrowding during the last year has overburdened Beddawi camp’s limited infrastructure and strained the relations between the Beddawi camp residents and the displaced refugees. Recovery activities will include support to Beddawi camp through repairs and upgrades to Beddawi camp’s infrastructure and communal facilities and all the centres and institutions that housed the displaced families, and the provision of new equipment to under-resourced centres.
Extensive surveys have been carried out by UNRWA and the Nahr el-Bared Reconstruction Commission for Civil Action and Studies (NBRC) to document NBC’s lost assets. By involving the refugee community Nahr el-Bared Camp | UNRWA Relief, Recovery and Reconstruction Framework 2008-2011 through a participatory approach UNRWA and the NBRC have been able to map the residential locations of all families in NBC prior to the conflict and have prepared new urban plans, proposed infrastructure plans and draft designs for residential units for the Preliminary Master Plan for the Reconstruction of NBC. The Preliminary Master Plan lays the groundwork for the detailed design of NBC, and UNRWA will outsource the management, detailed designs and construction supervision of NBC to a private consultancy.
UNRWA is working in coordination with the refugee community and the Government of Lebanon, through the Chief Technical Advisor on NBC to the Prime Minister and the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee, to ensure the successful implementation of all reconstruction works. Funds for the reconstruction will be channelled through a Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) administered by the World Bank on behalf of donors and the Government of Lebanon. The timelines for the reconstruction, however, are dependent on successful explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) and the progress of the rubble removal operations (construction will start in the first cleared sector while rubble removal is ongoing in other NBC sectors). Reconstruction is also dependent on the expropriation of the land by the Government of Lebanon and the granting of all necessary permits for preparing the infrastructure as well as permits for the disposal of all rubble and solid and toxic waste to environmental standards. Providing there are no significant delays the actual reconstruction of NBC and the UNRWA and NGO compounds will be completed by mid-2011, with the phased re-housing of refugees starting by the end of 2009.
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