UNRWA and UNICEF inaugurate water infrastructure construction in Lebanon camps

20 July 2011

20 July 2011

UNRWA and UNICEF today inaugurated a newly constructed stand-by water well in Mieh Mieh camp, in the presence of high-ranking UNRWA and UNICEF officials, as well as Palestinian community representatives.

Funded by UNICEF, the well will improve the capacity of the water supply network and will benefit the 4,700 residents of Mieh Mieh camp. Works had commenced in March 2010. The quality of the water is in conformity with the WHO specification, with a PH of 7.49. The pump installed gives an amount of 100 m3 /hour of water measured on the water tank.

This intervention is one of three sub-projects funded by UNICEF in relation to water infrastructure at a total cost of US$ 500,000. In El Buss camp, a hydrological feasibility study was undertaken between January and February 2010, and proposals for constructing a water well outside the camp boundaries are currently being investigated by UNRWA. When this project is implemented it will benefit the 9,700 residents living in El Buss.

Finally, a new water distribution network and storm water drainage system has been constructed in Mar Elias camp in Beirut. The upgraded network, which was completed in March 2011, will greatly reduce the risk of contamination of the water supply in the camp. In addition, the improvement of the existing storm water drainage system will eliminate the risk of flooding in the lowest parts of the camp. This initiative will benefit the 615 Palestinian residents of the camp.

Annamaria Laurini, UNICEF Representative in Lebanon, said: “Neglecting sanitation and drinking water is a strike against progress and equity. Without it, communities and countries will lose the battle against poverty and ill-health. I am very happy to see that 4,700 people, mainly women and children, will benefit from safe water leading to adequate sanitation and hygiene.”

According to the director of UNRWA affairs in Lebanon, Salvatore Lombardo, this project represents “a very important improvement to the standard of living for the refugees in these camps.”

He noted: “Through this commendable partnership with UNICEF we have been able to improve water and sanitation infrastructure affecting around 5,000 refugees in the two camps.”

For further information please contact:

Hoda Samra
UNRWA public information officer in Lebanon
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 more than US$ 106  million.

For more information, please contact: