EU Ambassador Lassen visits Nahr el-Bared Camp, highlights support for reconstruction efforts

09 November 2016

EU Ambassador Christina Lassen today visited the Nahr el-Bared Palestinian refugee camp to see first-hand the on-going reconstruction efforts, and to view the areas where house reconstruction for families who remain displaced will take place thanks to the EU's recently announced support of €12 million. Ambassador Lassen also met with refugees who returned to newly reconstructed houses.

“In response to the Lebanese Government's call for more support to the reconstruction of the Nahr el-Bared Camp, the European Union has decided to donate an extra EUR12 million in addition to more than EUR 44 million for relief and reconstruction already provided over the last years. Today, I am visiting the Nahr el-Bared Camp for the first time to take stock of the reconstruction efforts. I met with both Palestinian refugees who have been able to go back to new houses and those who still wait to be re-housed. We are happy to see that the work is progressing, but much is still to be done”.

Almost half of the camp’s displaced families have returned to newly reconstructed homes to date with support from a wide range of international donors. Given current funding to the Nahr el-Bared reconstruction effort, it is envisaged that almost 3,400 families or 70 per cent of the population, will return to their homes by 2019. 

"UNRWA appreciates the substantial support of the European Union in response to the Nahr el-Bared crisis and for our continued partnership and cooperation," said the Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon a.i, Mr Hakam Shahwan, who accompanied the visit. "Today’s visit shows the community of Nahr el-Bared that UNRWA and the European Union stand with them,” Mr Shahwan added.

UNRWA, the Lebanese Government and donors aim to ensure the full reconstruction of Nahr el-Bared Camp. Recent contributions pledged in the presence of Lebanese authorities, UNRWA Commissioner-General and the international donor community at the Grand Serail on October 5 have rejuvenated efforts to reconstruct the camp. UNRWA is appealing for funds to complete the remaining part of the reconstruction and return the remaining 1,577 displaced families.

EU and UNRWA: Together for Palestine Refugees

Since 1971, the European Union and UNRWA have maintained a strategic partnership governed by the shared objective to support the human development, humanitarian and protection needs of Palestine refugees and promote stability in the Middle East. Today, the European Union is the largest multilateral provider of international assistance to Palestine refugees. This reliable and predictable support from the European Union enables UNRWA to provide daily quality education for roughly half a million children and primary health care for more than 3.5 million patients in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza. The partnership between the European Union and UNRWA has allowed millions of Palestine refugees to be better educated, live healthier lives, access employment opportunities and improve their living conditions, thus contributing to the development of the entire region.

In October 2016, the EU announced a new EUR 12 million contribution in support of UNRWA's efforts for the reconstruction of the Nahr el-Bared Camp (NBC) in Lebanon, This is in addition to EUR 20,435,416 already provided. Furthermore, since the onset of the Nahr el-Bared crisis in 2007, the EU has provided EUR 23,553,674 in relief and recovery assistance for the camp’s displaced. Therefore, the EU’s total contribution will be almost €56 million on signing the new agreement.

The EUR 12 million contribution to be funded under the EU Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP), will go to support the rehousing of approximately 400 families and 87 retail units. It builds on the EU support to date to rehouse 350 families and build 68 retail units, enabling the community of NBC to revitalise their economic and social life.

NBC Overview (as of Oct 2016)

  • Cost of NBC Reconstruction: US$ 345 million
  • Amount Received to date: US$ 239.4 million (69 per cent)
  • No. residents displaced from NBC: 6,164 families (28,672 residents)
  • No. residents to be accommodated in NBC:4,939 families (20,878 residents)
  • No. residents returned to October 2016:2,193 families (8,858 residents) 44.5 per cent
  • No. residents remaining displaced October 2016: 2,746 families (12,020 residents) 55.5 per cent
  • No. residents to return to blocks under construction:477 families (2,224 residents)  
  • No. residents to return with recently announced donations:692 families (2,854 residents)  
  • Total no. residents to return by 2019: 3,362 families (13,936 residents) 68 per cent
  • No. residents displaced if no more funding:1,577 families (6,942 residents) 32 per cent

Background Information

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA programme budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s programme budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance. 

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: 
+972 (0)2 589 0267
Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: 
+972 (0)258 90724
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