16 April 2013
The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Robert Watkins visited the Nahr el-Bard Palestine refugee camp in northern Lebanon, where he witnessed first-hand the living conditions of Palestine refugees and was briefed on the reconstruction efforts, which started in the camp in 2007. Mr. Watkins was accompanied on the visit by the Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon, Ann Dismorr.
During the visit, Mr. Watkins met with families displaced from Nahr el-Bared camp and residing in nearby temporary shelters. The families talked about the difficult living conditions they face, expressing a wish for a speedy return to their homes.
On the visit, Mr. Watkins learned of the funding shortfall in UNRWA’s relief fund for Nahr el-Bared, which amounts to US$11.8 million until the end of 2013. This shortfall comes at a time of increasing strain on UNRWA resources in light of the arrival of over 40,000 Palestine refugees in need of urgent assistance from Syria.
UNRWA is working to raise the necessary funds to complete camp reconstruction, which still requires US$157 million (approximately half of the total amount). UNRWA has so far completed two phases of Nahr el-Bared reconstruction, allowing 600 displaced families to return to their homes. Full camp reconstruction remains subject to the availability of funds.
UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.
Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency‘s General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 67.2 million.
For more information, please contact :
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UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0724