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United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
31 May 2008
Nahr el-Bared Refugee Camp
Relief, Recovery and Reconstruction
Budget for reconstruction of Nahr el-Bared camp
and part of recovery costs
Since the early summer of 2007, 5,449 Palestinian refugee families displaced by the fighting in and around Nahr el-Bared camp (NBC) have been living provisional existences, hoping and waiting for their camp and their community to be brought back to life. The conditions have now been created in which it is possible, given the necessary political will and financial support, to respond to those hopes and to rebuild a camp which was literally reduced to rubble. In the meanwhile the displaced will continue to need extensive support. This document sets out UNRWA’s plans for dealing with these twin issues in cooperation with the Lebanese government, donors, other UN agencies, NGOs and the refugees themselves.
The plans for reconstruction are contained in the Preliminary Master Plan. The plans for interim support are in the Relief and Early Recovery Plan. These are integrated into a Relief, Recovery and Reconstruction (RRR) Framework which will be periodically updated in light of emerging circumstances.
While the Preliminary Master Plan lays the groundwork for the design of the rebuilt camp, UNRWA will outsource the management, detailed designs and construction supervision to a private consultancy.
Under a Flash Appeal followed by an Emergency Appeal in 2007 donors have pledged $57.4 million for relief and early recovery. These funds will shortly be exhausted.
UNRWA’s roles over the next period are to continue to lead, in coordination with the UN Country Team (UNCT), relief and recovery, while working with the Government of Lebanon to rebuild NBC.
A new town
Reconstruction of Nahr el-Bared will be the largest project ever undertaken by UNRWA. It will effectively require the building of a new town for 27,000 people: houses, schools, health centres, mosques, other community buildings, UN compound and associated infrastructure at a total estimated cost of $282 million (see box for outline budget breakdown). Actual construction is expected to start in early 2009, with completion scheduled for mid-2011. The budget of $282 million comprises the cost of rebuilding the camp plus a part of recovery costs.
Funds for reconstruction will in principle be channelled through a Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) administered by the World Bank on behalf of donors and the Lebanese government. Donors who prefer to donate directly to UNRWA will have that option.
The project will be unusual in that security considerations play a major role in determining the layout of the new neighbourhood (wider streets, lower houses). This has led to higher projected costs than would otherwise have been the case. The cost of removal of rubble, a task which has been sub-contracted to UNDP, has also increased overall costs considerably and is being partly financed out of the Emergency Appeal.
Lebanese government support
The project enjoys the full support of the Lebanese authorities. Through the Chief Technical Adviser to the Prime Minister and the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee the Lebanese authorities have been closely involved in the elaboration of the plans. These plans dovetail with the government’s own plans for the development of the surrounding area and in particular the “Adjacent Area” (the area around the official camp which houses a large number of Palestine refugees as well as lower-income Lebanese. This area suffered some damage in the fighting although not as much as the official camp).
Timelines for reconstruction are particularly dependent on the collaboration of the Lebanese authorities in three areas: demining, rubble removal and expropriation of land. While it is intended that construction will begin in the first cleared sector while rubble removal continues in other sectors, how quickly this occurs will crucially depend not only on successful explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) but also on the expropriation of the land by the Government and the granting of all necessary permits for disposal of rubble and waste (some of it toxic) to required environmental standards.
Planning and operations: participation
As well as the Lebanese authorities other parts of the UN have been closely involved in planning and operations, particularly in the relief and recovery phase, notably through the mechanism of the UN Country Team (UNCT) and through the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office (UNRC). The ICRC and national as well as international NGOs have also figured, notably through participation in the teams which have handled the different sets of issues (“clusters”): shelter/water/sanitation, livelihoods, food security, protection, health and education.
Through camp committees and other structures put in place by the displaced refugees themselves UNRWA has closely consulted throughout the planning process with the refugees. One result: the plans for the reconstructed camp pay close attention to recreating as far as possible the pattern of family and community residence which existed in the original camp.
It is not enough to build buildings. Problems will fester again if communities are not helped to build new livelihoods. Plans for the new camp therefore include provision for a vocational training centre and microfinance while the relief and recovery plans (i.e. those in operation during reconstruction) provide for more extensive livelihood support.
The new camp will take an estimated three years to build. It is planned that after a planning and preparatory phase taking up most of 2008, actual reconstruction will begin in early 2009, with completion in mid-2011. Displaced refugees will move back into the camp in phases as different parts of the project are completed. The first batch of houses is scheduled to be ready by the end of 2009.
About 1,900 families from the originally displaced 5,449 have moved, or in approximately 700 cases, have returned to the Adjacent Area. Conditions in the Adjacent Area however, remain extremely inadequate and makeshift housing there can only represent a stepping stone to proper return to the official camp for the original inhabitants.
During reconstruction UNRWA will continue to provide relief and recovery arrangements for which finance is available until September 2008. These include temporary shelters, rent subsidies, temporary schooling and medical facilities and drainage and water supplies (including in the Adjacent Area in the absence of Lebanese government services). Thereafter UNRWA will require further funds for extension of these interim arrangements, initially until December 2009, after which time demands will diminish as refugees return in phases to their reconstructed neighbourhoods. A Relief and Early Recovery Appeal will be launched later in the summer 2008.
UNRWA Lebanon Field Office
Director of UNRWA Affairs
Bir Hassan, Beirut (opp. Sports City)
Beirut 1107 2060
Telephone: +961-1 840 490/1-9
Fax: +961-1 840 466