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Source: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
31 December 2009



1. BACKGROUND

By the end of 2009 more than 26,000 Palestine refugees from Nahr el-Bared Camp (NBC) and its Adjacent Areas in North Lebanon remain displaced two and a half years after the end of the conflict in 2007 that left their camp in ruins. Since then, UNRWA, together with sister UN agencies, NGOs, the ICRC, Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, with support from the international community and the Government of Lebanon (GoL), has been supporting refugee families to help them cope with their displacement and loss of homes and livelihoods.

Many of the displaced families continue to live in makeshift rented accommodation in garages, shops or damaged apartments in the NBC Adjacent Areas (around the outside of the destroyed camp) or in and around Beddawi camp in Tripoli. Others have been provided with accommodation in temporary shelters built by UNRWA or in buildings the Agency has repaired for use as collective centres. A small number of families remain scattered throughout Lebanon. During 2008-2009, UNRWA provided rental subsidies to all those families in rented accommodation. Without this subsidy many families would simply not have been able to economically survive and this support remains the largest financial commitment for the Agency at $545,000 every month.

The refugee community has so far been unable to recover from their economic losses or to recreate the thriving commercial and trading centre that NBC once was. A number of initiatives that were established with funding from the Emergency Appeal (2007-2008) continue to operate, including the North Vocational Training Centre (NTC), an apprenticeships programme and the Emergency Employment Services Centre (EESC), to provide knowledge, skills and support to improve refugee employment opportunities. UNRWA has provided small grants to micro-enterprises and small businesses in an attempt to help regenerate the local economy. Although a portion of the businesses that were destroyed have been restarted, realistically the local market cannot grow and become sustainable while local purchasing power remains low with most breadwinners still under-employed or unemployed. The continuing cordoning off of the Adjacent Areas by the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) continues to be a major disincentive to outsiders, particularly Lebanese from the North, who used to rely on NBC’s market and service industry thereby substantially contributing to the local economy. Under these conditions there will be a very slow economic recovery and the majority of displaced families will continue to remain heavily dependent on UNRWA and international support for the foreseeable future.

UNRWA, as the lead Agency providing education, health and relief and social services to the Palestine refugees, is committed to providing the NBC refugees

Status of Displaced families from Nahr el-Bared Camp (as at 31 December 2009)

North Lebanon
Families
Individuals
Renting
3,157
14,759
Staying with host families
599
1,852
Temporary Shelter (Plot 23) in NBC Adjacent Areas
86
405
Temporary Shelter (Plot 674) in NBC Adjacent Areas
158
756
Temporary Shelter (Plot 774) in NBC Adjacent Areas
93
465
Temporary Shelter (Plot 385) in NBC Adjacent Areas
204
832
Temporary Shelter (Plot 755-Phase 1) in NBC Adjacent Areas
67
335
Collective Centres (shared facilities in repaired buildings)
102
567
Accommodated by international NGOs
101
538
Returned to their own homes in NBC Adjacent Areas
902
4,452
Sub-total
5,469
24,961
Outside of North Lebanon (various accommodations)
Central Lebanon (including Beirut)
120
537
Saida Area
77
337
South Lebanon (including Tyre)
44
200
Beqa’a
18
71
Sub-total
259
1,145
TOTAL
5,728
26,106

with the support necessary for their well-being during their protracted displacement while the camp is being reconstructed. Temporary schools, health clinics, relief offices and other installations were established in NBC Adjacent Areas and in Beddawi camp (where approximately 10,000 displaced refugees still live) through funding from the previous Emergency Appeal and the RERA.

Given that most refugees in the north were affected by the NBC conflict and in order to rationalise resources and operations, UNRWA amalgamated the NBC Project Management Unit (PMU) with its Area Office and the regular programmes in North Lebanon (education, health and relief and social services) in early 2009. The new Northern Management Unit (NMU), based in Tripoli, has since taken over responsibility for all of UNRWA’s regular programmes in North Lebanon and continues to manage the NBC relief, recovery and reconstruction operations.

Recognising that feelings of insecurity, lack of trust and scepticism that the camp will ever be rebuilt are common in the community, UNRWA has striven to develop better communication channels and dialogue with the refugees.

2. INTRODUCTION

The Relief and Early Recovery Appeal (RERA) for NBC was launched in Beirut, on 11 September 2008, by UNRWA together with the GoL, represented by Ambassador Khalil Makkawi from the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee (LPDC), and Palestinian Ambassador Abbas Zakki. The launch, which was attended by many representatives of the donor community based in Beirut, was combined with a technical presentation on the reconstruction of the camp. The RERA outlined the funding requirements up to the end of December 2009, totalling $42.7 million that would enable UNRWA to continue providing critical relief assistance as well as to support recovery activities, including rubble removal operations in the destroyed camp. The RERA followed two prior appeals launched by UNRWA to respond to the emergency, a Flash Appeal (June-August 2007) and an Emergency Appeal (September 2007-August 2008), which together raised $60 million.

The broad strategy outlined in the RERA requested funding for a wide range of services to support the displaced population and those directly affected by the conflict in the Adjacent Areas and indirectly in Beddawi camp: food and non-food items (NFIs), shelter, water and sanitation, health, education, protection, early recovery activities, including rubble removal in the destroyed camp, and coordination and security operations.

Donors responded generously to the RERA and by the end of December 2009, $28.2 million (or 66% of the budget requested) had been received in confirmed pledges from Australia, Belgium, Canada, the Centra Emergency Response Fund (CERF), the European Commission (EC), the EC Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO), Germany, Italy, Turkey, Norway and the US. Several donors also provided $5.6 million for additional projects outside of the RERA but related to NBC early recovery – Austria, Baleares Regional Government (Spain), Germany, UK and the United Arab Emirates Red Crescent (see Financial Summary Section 4). In total $33.8 million was donated towards NBC relief and recovery activities from September 2008 to the end of December 2009. Most activities that were funded under the RERA are continuing into 2010, and the balance accrued at the end of 2009 has been rolled over to 2010 with the permission of the donors. Separate to the RERA, an additional $11 million was provided to UNRWA in 2008-2009 for rubble removal by Belgium, Denmark, the EC, and the Netherlands and by the Multi-Donor Trust Fund (Finland, Norway and Spain).

With the funding received, UNRWA was able to provide support to all displaced families as well as to those who moved back to their damaged homes in the Adjacent Areas once these areas were opened up by the LAF. A small number of Lebanese families living in the Adjacent Areas who were also affected by the conflict were provided with food assistance up to the end of 2009.

Work on NBC’s reconstruction started in Package 1 on 25 November 2009, following the demolition of destroyed buildings, the removal of most of the rubble and clearance of Unexploded Ordnance (UXO), and construction will continue (funding permitting) until 2012. During work on the reconstruction UNRWA is committed to providing basic humanitarian assistance until all families can be rehoused in the rebuilt camp. A faster reconstruction process will mean less costs, in terms of both the reconstruction and the cost of maintaining the displaced refugees.

While UNRWA does not plan to launch another special appeal in 2010, following the end of the RERA, the Agency will continue to fundraise for ongoing activities started under the RERA and particularly for priority projects/activities that cover relief and recovery assistance in 2010-2011 (rental cash subsidies, hospitalisation, food assistance, and shelter maintenance until the camp has been fully reconstructed – a separate project proposal and budgets has been prepared.

This report outlines the activities funded under the RERA that were carried out from September 2008 to December 2009.


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