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United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
2 November 2008
Norway announces $447,000 to UNRWA for basic services
to displaced Nahr el Bared refugees
The Government of Norway has announced its contribution of NOK 3,000,000 ($447,000) to UNRWA’s Relief and Early Recovery Appeal to provide humanitarian relief work for 27,000 refugees displaced from Nahr el Bared camp in Lebanon.
UNRWA’s Commissioner-General, Ms Karen AbuZayd, thanked the Government of Norway for its support: “This contribution from the government and citizens of Norway helps to ensure that the basic needs of the most vulnerable refugees continue to be met pending reconstruction of the camp.”
The reconstruction of Nahr El Bared camp is the largest single project UNRWA has ever undertaken. In June 2008, UNRWA and the Lebanese government jointly appealed for $445 million for the reconstruction and recovery of the camp and its environs, $282 million of which is for UNRWA’s part of the operation.
In September 2008, UNRWA launched its Relief and Early Recovery Appeal for Nahr el-Bared appeal for $42.7 million to maintain temporary services – up to December 2009 – for the displaced pending reconstruction. Interventions include temporary shelter for 16,000 refugees and emergency food rations to all of the 27,000 displaced as well as other essential services such as temporary education, health care, water and sanitation. The contribution from the Government of Norway follows the United States Government contribution to the appeal in September of $4.3 million.
The first stages of a major reconstruction and recovery effort of Nahr el-Bared camp – to rebuild the camp and allow displaced refugees to return to their homes – are now underway. A phased approach to reconstruction is planned, through which families will begin to return to their homes inside the camp by the end of 2009. The reconstruction is due to be completed by mid-2011.
Some 4.6 million Palestine refugees in UNRWA’s five fields of operations – Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem – are eligible for Agency services, including education, healthcare, social services, shelter, micro-credit loans and emergency aid. UNRWA employs nearly 30,000 staff, the vast majority of whom are Palestine refugees. UNRWA’s operations are financed almost entirely by voluntary contributions from donors. The Agency’s regular budget for 2008-2009 is $1.1 billion, which covers the recurrent costs of the Agency’s education, health and relief and social services activities. UNRWA’s headquarters are in Gaza City and Amman.