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United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
11 September 2008
UNRWA launches its Relief and Early Recovery Appeal for Nahr el-Bared
Beirut 11 September 2008 – The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) today launched an
for relief and early recovery assistance to meet the basic needs of displaced families from the Nahr el-Bared refugee camp, for the period from September 2008 to December 2009. The initiative is in cooperation with the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee (LPDC) and the Palestine Liberation Organization.
The launch was attended by a large number of Arab and foreign ambassadors representing donor states, as well as UN organisations, senior Lebanese and Palestinian officials and representatives of the Palestinian community in Lebanon.
The appeal for $42.7 million will help UNRWA to continue providing food and non-food items, temporary educational and medical services, and maintain temporary shelter, water and sanitation services while the camp is being rebuilt.
"UNRWA's Deputy Commissioner-General Mr. Filippo Grandi said in his address, that “The situation for the displaced families remains extremely fragile. The activities covered by this appeal are vital and the funds that are needed to carry them out are urgently needed".
In the opening session, Ambassador Khalil Mekkawi, Chairman of the Lebanese- Palestinian Dialogue Committee, reiterated the commitment of the Lebanese government, UNRWA and the PLO to reconstruct Nahr el-Bared camp and said "preparations for the reconstruction are progressing well despite all challenges and obstacles". He urged all donor states to honor their financial commitments towards relief and reconstruction and encouraged other donors to fund more.
In his address, PLO Representative in Lebanon, Mr. Abbas Zaki, said that what has been achieved so far is the result of the real partnership between the PLO, UNRWA and the Lebanese government. He added that it is urgent now to fund the Relief and Early Recovery Appeal and urged the Arab countries and international community to contribute more towards the reconstruction of Nahr el-Bared. UNRWA finished clearing the rubble from its compound in late August. The contract for rubble removal from Nahr el-Bared camp and de-mining was signed this week and the technical teams have already been mobilized. Works in Nahr el-Bared will start in the coming weeks.
The first phase of the major reconstruction and recovery effort – to rebuild the camp and allow displaced refugees to return to their homes – is now underway. Providing there are no unforeseen delays, displaced families will begin to return to their homes inside the camp by the end of 2009 and reconstruction is due to be completed by end 2011.
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