European Parliament Delegation visits Beddawi camp

01 November 2017
Members of the European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with the Mashreq Countries and representatives from the Delegation of the European Union met with students at Battouf school, Beddawi camp, Lebanon. © 2017 UNRWA Photo by Maysoun Mustafa

Today, members of the European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with the Mashreq Countries and representatives from the Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon visited infrastructure, shelter, education and health projects funded by the EU and implemented by UNRWA in the Beddawi refugee camp in North Lebanon. They were accompanied by the Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon, Claudio Cordone, and by local Palestinian popular camp committees.

The Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and the representatives toured the camp and visited shelters rehabilitated with the support of the EU, meeting with beneficiary families. Saed Taha is one of the residents of Beddawi refugee camp who was able to rehabilitate his house through EU support:

“We now have a decent and healthy house where we can enjoy some privacy. We thank the European Union for funding this project and we ask them to continue rehabilitating unsuitable shelters in our camp and in other camps as well,” Taha said.

Within the past five years, UNRWA has rehabilitated more than 2,000 shelters across all Palestine refugee camps in Lebanon, the majority of which were completed with the support of the EU. In the Beddawi refugee camp alone, 223 shelters were rehabilitated either in the form of repair works or full reconstruction.

The much-needed rehabilitation of 11 health centres in Palestine refugee camps in Lebanon, including one in the Beddawi refugee camp, has been completed with EU support, thus helping to improve health services delivery. In addition, the EU has supported the mainstreaming of mental health and psychosocial support in health-care provision.

As part of the EU-funded camp improvement projects in Beddawi, UNRWA repaired and renewed the sewage system, water supply network and drainage system.

Today’s visit also included a tour of Kawkab school, which was recently rehabilitated thanks to EU funding. The rehabilitation of the school included the improvement of sanitation facilities and access to the library for students with different needs.

The EU is currently the largest donor to the UNRWA education system in Lebanon. It supports the education reform, improvement of vocational training, provision of employment services and career guidance. In addition, it continues to be a primary supporter to the Education in Emergencies programme, which has secured education opportunities to some 5,000 Palestine refugee students from Syria since 2013.

Mr. Cordone thanked the EU for its constant support of UNRWA across all fields. “The European Union remains one of the major supporters of UNRWA, especially in the fields of education and infrastructure. I trust that this critical partnership continues for the benefit of Palestine refugees in Lebanon,” he said.

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 core services to more than 5 million Palestine refugees in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza, including quality education for roughly half a million children and primary health care for more than 3.5 million patients. Collectively, the EU and its Member States are also among the largest contributors to the Agency’s humanitarian emergency appeals and projects in response to various crises and specific needs across the region. 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.

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 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank 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
Huda Samra
Communications Advisor – Lebanon (Arabic and Francophone)
Mobile: 
+961 81 666 134
Two UNRWA students from Gaza enjoy recess in their first day of school. © 2017 UNRWA Photo by Rushdi Al-Saraj
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