Inauguration of a US-funded health centre in Nahr el-Bared camp

10 February 2009

10 February 2009


The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East UNRWA inaugurated today a US-funded health centre in Nahr el-Bared camp adjacent area in the presence of US Ambassador Michele Sisson, the Chairman of the Lebanese Palestinian dialogue committee, Ambassador Khalil Makkawi and the Director of UNRWA Affairs Salvatore Lombardo.

The ceremony took place in UNRWA compound in Tripoli where a briefing was given to the visitors and a presentation was made on the project. Then, the US Ambassador had an open discussion with healthcare providers and a group of beneficiaries.

The new health centre is located in Sector A of the adjacent area to Nahr el-Bared camp and currently manages 748 active files of displaced families who have returned to this area. The construction of the NBC Health Centre 2 added to the capacity of the NBC Health Centre 1 established at the end of the crisis which treats on average 192 patients per day. NBC Health Centre 2 began operating on 28 November 2008.

Thanks to the generous donation of the US Government, UNRWA will be able to provide more health services to the displaced refugees from Nahr el-Bared. The US has always been an outstanding supporter of UNRWA, and this particular donation marks a significant improvement to the life of the Palestine refugees. "Access to quality health services is of fundamental importance to people who have been displaced from their homes and who face difficult conditions," said Salvatore Lombardo, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon.

The US has contributed to UNRWA since Nahr el-Bared crisis broke out in 2007. The US contributed $3.5 million to UN´s initial Flash Appeal, and it was the first donor to respond to UNRWA’s Emergency Appeal for North Lebanon with a pledge of $10.5 million. Again the US continued its support to Palestine refugees by donating to UNRWA $4.31 million to the Relief and Early Recovery Appeal and $ 23.5 million the Reconstruction of Nahr el-Bared.

The US has always contributed generously to UNRWA. In 2008, the US donated US$85.86  million to the Agency’s General Fund.

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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 more than US$ 106  million.

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