Work Begins on Shaikh Zayed Quarter, Neirab Camp

10 November 2009

10 November 2009

Damascus

The first row of 60-year old shelters will be demolished over the course of this week in Neirab Palestine refugee camp in Aleppo, Syria, in an effort to improve the sub-standard living conditions of the refugees living there. The shelters marked for demolition were originally used as army barracks for French and British armed forces before the Second World War. Refugee families have lived in a space of 15-25 square metres for six decades, with very limited natural light and ventilation.

The United Arab Emirates Red Crescent Authority (UAERCA) donated USD 5 million for the construction of a new health centre and the rehabilitation of this section of Neirab which will benefit 140 families.

Volker Schimmel, Neirab Rehabilitation Project Manager, stated that many refugees will have "not seen an open space like this in Neirab camp in decades… I hope that we will work on the new housing units quickly to make daily life in the camp healthier and safer." He added that "finally, children will have separate rooms to do their homework in which was impossible for many families until now."

The space reclaimed through demolition will be used to develop housing units based on UNRWA standards for the refugee families. Careful planning will see the creation of communal areas which have hitherto been absent in the camp. This project is a model of community participation with beneficiary families involved in all stages of the project cycle.

Roger Hearn, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Syria, stated on the occasion that "the Neirab Rehabilitation Project is an important effort to improve one of the worst camps in Syria, and has been long-awaited by the community. Thanks to the support of the UAERCA, we are now able to make the first important steps towards a goal of better living conditions and ultimately better opportunities for the Palestinian refugee community."

The Neirab Rehabilitation Project is a camp improvement project which seeks lasting positive impact on the lives of refugee families in combining physical rehabilitation strategies with human development initiatives.

UNRWA provides education, healthcare, social services, shelter, and micro-credit services to over 460,000 Palestine refugees in Syria.

For information only Not an official record

For further information please contact:
Hala Mukhles – 0940888103

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$ 70.5 million.

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