First families return to their new houses in Nahr el Bared camp

20 April 2011

19 April 2011
Beirut

On 19 April 2011, UNRWA handed over the newly reconstructed homes to the first group of families in the first package out of eight packages of Nahr el-Bared camp. More families will return in several groups over the coming weeks. Completion of this first block (N2) marks the beginning of what the Agency expects to be a continuous, phased return of the displaced families from NBC throughout 2011.

Currently, reconstruction works are underway in both Packages 1 and 2 out of the eight packages of NBC. In addition, three of the six school complexes contained within the UNRWA compound will be completed, equipped and ready for use by the beginning of the 2011-2012 scholastic year. These three complexes will house four separate schools and a vocational training centre.

Lack of funding, however, remains the major constraint to the reconstruction of the camp. As of April 2011, only 40 per cent of the funding needed for NBC reconstruction has been met, and the Agency still requires around US$ 207m in order to fully fund the remaining packages and three more school complexes.

In May 2007, clashes between the militant group Fatah Al-Islam and the Lebanese Armed Forces resulted in the destruction of the Nahr el-Bared camp (NBC), and the displacement of 27,000 refugees. Refugee homes, commercial properties, mosques, NGO and community facilities in the camp lay in ruins, as did the UNRWA compound, which housed schools, health clinics and relief offices. All roads and water and sewerage networks were badly damaged or destroyed. The refugees were forced to flee and abandon their homes, and remain displaced to this day.

Ends

For more information please contact:
Hoda Samra
UNRWA Lebanon Public Information Office
Tel/Fax: +961-1 840 468
Email: h.samra@unrwa.org

Background Information

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 68 million.

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