UNRWA Lays the Foundations for a New Neirab
31 May 2010, Damascus -- UNRWA’s Neirab Rehabilitation Project (NRP) has entered an exciting new stage as contractors begin work on new residential units for 12 Palestinian refugee families in Neirab Camp. These houses are part of a project covering 140 families, and are funded thanks to a generous donation of over 5 million USD by the United Arab Emirates Red Crescent Society (UAERC).
“This construction is a momentous occasion for UNRWA and for the residents of Neirab,” said Volker Schimmel, the project manager of the NRP. Much of the existing housing in Neirab dates back to World War II, when it was built as an army barracks, and the inhabitants have waited decades for a relief from their inhumane living conditions. At present, extended families are squeezed into shelters of an average of 30 square metres, where they suffer from poor sanitation and ventilation, and generally hazardous structural conditions. As a result of this living situation, the refugee population of Neirab camp is known to be one of the most vulnerable in Syria.
The new residential units are the product of years of preparation, fundraising and joint planning with the community and the Syrian government, and are being built according to strict UNRWA standards. Their construction is a key element of the NRP, now in its second phase, which is a pilot initiative to improve the living conditions and livelihoods of the Palestine refugees in Neirab through a comprehensive redevelopment of the camp. In addition to building and repairing about 1,000 housing units through multiple donations, the project aims to develop community activities, employment support programmes, and capacity building.
The UAERC contributed over USD 9 million to UNRWA in 2009. Most recently, the UAERC funded the construction of a new school in Sbeineh camp and a new health centre in Neirab camp. Other donors to the Neirab Rehabilitation Project include Syria, the United States, Japan, Germany, Switzerland, and Canada, as well as the regional governments of Galicia and the Basque country.
UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, provides education, healthcare, relief and social services, and micro-credit services to over 470,000 Palestine refugees in Syria.
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