Republic of Korea donates US$ 250,000 for Nahr el-Bared

13 January 2011

13 January 2011
Beirut

Korean Ambassador and Director of UNRWA Affairs in LebanonThe Republic of Korea donated US$250,000 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 held in UNRWA offices in Beirut in the presence of Korean Ambassador H.E. Young-Ha Lee and Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon Mr Salvatore Lombardo.

On this occasion, H.E. Young-Ha Lee said: “As a responsible player of the international community, Korea is keen on seeing peace, stability and prosperity in Lebanon. We hope that this modest assistance is considered as a contribution from the people and the government of the Republic of Korea to help the residents of Nahr El Bared camp with their efforts to create better living conditions.”

Thanking all UNRWA partners, Mr Lombardo said: "This generous Korean donation comes at a time both of hope – with the first Nahr el-Bared residents soon to return to their rebuilt homes – and humility at the scale of the task still ahead. It will help towards ensuring that, whilst striving to complete reconstruction of the camp, UNRWA can continue to ensure that displaced refugees‘ essential needs are covered."

Through renewed Korean support, displaced families will be guaranteed decent temporary housing, food security, and access to education and health services through early 2011. This will contribute to restoring the refugees’ dignity and help them regain hope as they await the reconstruction of their homes. This contribution is very timely as UNRWA has requested US$ 18.51m in 2011 to fund relief and recovery activities for those displaced from Nahr el-Bared.

Korea had previously donated US$ 300,000 to Nahr el-Bared reconstruction activities in 2008, during the Vienna donor conference. Korea also contributes regularly to the Agency’s General Fund and has donated US$ 500,000 since 2004.

The destruction of Nahr el-Bared Camp in the 2007 conflict, and the subsequent displacement of some 27,000 Palestine refugees from the camp and its adjacent areas, created a humanitarian crisis still being felt three years on. Thanks to donor contributions since 2007, UNRWA has been able to meet the most basic needs of the refugees. The physical reconstruction of the camp began in November 2009. Construction is currently under way on two of the eight packages that will serve as the residential and business components of the camp. In addition, work is being done on three of the six schools planned for the new UNRWA complex, while work on the camp’s infrastructure is scheduled to begin soon. Nevertheless, the long-term recovery of the camp and its residents is by no means assured, and support from UNRWA and the donor community to the displaced refugees remains vital.

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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 US$ 56 million.

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