22 September 2010
Brazil has donated US$ 500,000 to support relief and recovery activities for Nahr el-Bared displaced refugees for 2010/2011 through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
The donation was announced during a ceremony that was held in UNRWA offices in Beirut in the presence of Brazilian Ambassador H.E. Paulo Roberto Tarrisse da Fontoura, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador William Habib, Lebanese Palestinian Dialogue Committee Chairperson Mrs Maya Majzoub, Palestine Liberation Organization Representative H.E. Abdallah Abdallah, and Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon Mr Salvatore Lombardo.
On this occasion H.E. Tarrisse da Fontoura said: “Brazil is glad to take part in the efforts of the international community to support UNRWA’s vital works for the much-needed recovery of Nahr el-Bared Camp. This contribution reaffirms our commitment to the Lebanese Government’s call for assistance, as well as to the Palestinian cause. After our first contribution to the Donor Conference in Vienna, we are now able to add $500,000, a significant sum for a developing country. We understand that international solidarity must be one of the vectors guiding relations between countries, and that the needs of one are the needs of everyone.”
The Secretary General of the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador William Habib, praised Brazil for this donation, noting that the resources of this country are far much less than the resources of other countries. Ambassador Habib called on friendly countries that have the resources to follow suit and contribute to UNRWA to assist the Palestinian people who were displaced from their land, hoping that a just solution will be found to enable them to return to their homeland.
The representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Ambassador Abdallah Abdallah, thanked the Government of Brazil and said that this contribution: “is another proof that Brazil is committed to secure a decent life to Palestinians and to support their cause in all its angles.” He added that Brazil is “doing what it can to alleviate the hardship of our people”. Ambassador Abdallah called on all parties: “to cooperate to preserve the dignity of Palestinians living in Lebanon and all over the world.”
The President of the Lebanese Palestinian Dialogue Committee, Ms Maya Majzoub praised the generous initiative of Brazil to support the relief and recovery efforts in Nahr el Bared camp, stressing that this donation: “is another confirmation of the international responsibility in this regard and a great support to the policy of the Lebanese Government that promised and remains committed to reconstruct Nahr el Bared.”
Majzoub reiterated that: “supporting the relief and recovery efforts is not less important than the reconstruction but rather enhances it.” She added saying that Prime Minister Saad Hariri continues to deploy extensive efforts to secure the funding needed for the reconstruction of the camp and the recovery and relief activities.
Thanking all UNRWA partners, Mr Lombardo said: “I thank Brazil for its ongoing support to relief and recovery activities in Nahr el Bared. Aside from the physical reconstruction of Nahr el Bared camp it is incredibly important for us to ensure dignity is returned to the lives of its inhabitants. Through the funds provided by Brazil and other generous donors we are able to not only cover the basics such as housing subsidies for the poor and medical expenses for the sick, but - through providing vocational training for women and scholarships for youth - we can start building the foundations on which the future prosperity of the camp rests.”
Brazil had already donated $200,000 to Nahr el-Bared reconstruction in December 2008 and $200,000 to UNRWA‘s General Fund in February 2009.
The destruction of Nahr el-Bared Camp in the conflict in 2007, and the subsequent displacement of some 27,000 Palestine refugees from the camp and its adjacent areas created a humanitarian crisis, the effects of which are still being felt three years on. Thanks to donor contributions since 2007, UNRWA has been able to meet the most basic needs of the displaced refugees. The physical reconstruction of the camp has started in November 2009, with construction under way for two packages out of eight, and three of six schools. Nevertheless, the long-term recovery of the camp and its residents is by no means assured, and UNRWA’s support to the displaced refugees continues to be vital.