UNRWA held a closing ceremony to celebrate the completion of an infrastructure and shelter rehabilitation project in Ein El Hilweh refugee camp in Saida, Lebanon on 20 September 2017.
Palestine refugees and UNRWA staff appreciate the support of the European Union (EU), the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to the improvement of infrastructure in Ein El Hilweh, which helped reduce the negative environmental effects of deteriorated infrastructure and shelters and directly improved the health of Palestine refugees, thus ensuring a better quality of life.
Before these welcome contributions, the infrastructure of the camp was in disrepair, leading to water shortage, flooded streets during winter and a dysfunctional sewage system. Shelters were also suffering from many problems including risk of collapsing, therefore, threatening the lives of their inhabitants.
Ali Aslan is a Palestine refugee living in Ein El Hilweh camp with his family. He said: “The project went really well and we are happy with the results overall. However, many houses are still in need of rehabilitation and we hope that new projects will address them.”
Speaking at the event, the Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon, Claudio Cordone, said that this project shows what can be achieved collectively in support of Palestine refugees. “I was concerned to see the impact of the recurrent clashes in Ein El Hilweh on the lives of those living there, their homes, and especially on children. UNRWA will continue to support them and stand by their side,” he added.
The Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon, Ambassador Christina Lassen, showed her solidarity with the inhabitants of the camp who have for so long lived in an extremely difficult situation. She pointed out that the EU stands with them and said: "As you know, for many years, the European Union has been supporting Palestine refugees in Lebanon. And we continue to do so.”
''Through the projects that we close now, more than 206 families now have access to shelters, eight health clinics were fully rehabilitated and furnished, and a new water supply and drainage system was completed',” she added.
The EU contributed more than EUR 10 million to rehabilitate this shelter and infrastructure rehabilitation project. The SFD and JICA also contributed almost US$ 7 million and US$ 2 million respectively to infrastructure works in the camp.