Norway donates NOK 5,500,000 for the construction of a school in Nahr el-Bared

28 May 2011

28 May 2011
Beirut

Boys in school at Nahr el-Bared campNorway has donated NOK 5,500,000 (US$1,033,699) as a contribution to the construction of a school in Nahr el-Bared through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

Norwegian Chargé d’Affaires a.i Mai Tonheim said: “For the many children whose lives were affected by the conflict in the Nahr el-Bared camp in 2007, the construction of schools is an important step to rebuild their lives. All children have the right to education and Norway is pleased to support such a crucial part of the reconstruction of Nahr el-Bared”. 

Thanking all UNRWA partners, Mr Salvatore Lombardo, director of UNRWA in Lebanon, said: “I thank Norway for its ongoing support to UNRWA. 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 Norway we are able to provide proper education young Palestinian students who have returned to their reconstructed homes in Nahr el-Bared."

UNRWA is making preparations to have the schools ready for the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year, allowing over 2,000 primary and secondary school students to relocate from overcrowded, temporary double-shift facilities in Beddawi camp and the adjacent areas. The co-funding by Norway for the construction of this fourth school complex will allow 900 elementary and preparatory school students to pursue their education in a sound, healthy and proper environment.
 
The Kingdom of Norway has generously supported displaced NBC refugees since the onset of the crisis, by donating US$ 4 million to both NBC reconstruction and relief operations. Norway provides contributions to both the Agency‘s General Fund (GF) and regular and emergency projects. Norway contributed US$ 40 million to the GF in 2010 and US$ 39 million in 2009.
 
The destruction of Nahr el-Bared Camp (NBC) 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 four 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 in addition to the Agency’s health centre.

Nevertheless, the long-term recovery of the camp and its residents is by no means assured. In 2011, US$18.51m will be needed to fund relief and recovery activities for the Nahr el-Bared displaced, without which the Agency will not be able to provide temporary housing, medical care nor food assistance to some 27,000 displaced. So far, the Agency secured around US$10m and the current shortfall is around US$8.5m.
 
The overall cost of the reconstruction of NBC is US$345m. The current shortfall stands at US$207m of which US$7.7 million are still needed for Package 3 only. 

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For further information please contact:
Hoda Samra
UNRWA Public information officer in Lebanon
+961-70-010129
Fax: +961-1-840468
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$ 56 million.

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