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UNRWA and Germany Hand over Newly-built Houses and Commercial Units in Nahr el-Bared Camp
Under the auspices of the German Embassy, the German Development Bank (KfW) and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), a ceremony was held in Nahr el-Bared camp to mark the handing over of newly reconstructed houses to 61 returning families and 35 retail units to store owners. This is a landmark achievement of the ongoing project funded by Germany.
The ceremony highlights the longstanding support of the Government of Germany and UNRWA to Palestine refugees displaced from Nahr el-Bared following the 2007 crisis. The German Ambassador, Martin Huth, and the Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon, Claudio Cordone, presented keys to the families and shop owners to celebrate their return to Nahr el-Bared camp.
Thanks to the generous contribution from Germany totaling US$ 28 million to relief and reconstruction of Nahr el-Bared camp, the long-term social and economic prospects of the Palestinian community in the camp have been greatly improved.
One of the beneficiaries of the German contribution - Issam Isa Al-sayed said: “When we finally returned to our newly reconstructed home, we felt the beginning of a new life. It is a safe, and clean home and we can finally enjoy stability. We also rebuilt our ties with the community here and facilities are much closer to us now.”
Speaking at the event, Mr. Cordone thanked Germany for its ongoing support to Palestine refugees, and specifically for the reconstruction of Nahr el-Bared camp. He added: “With this support, 61 families have been able to return to their new homes. This will enable them to live proper living conditions after 11 years of hardship and displacement. We look forward to the day when all displaced families return to their homes. In spite of the formidable challenges UNRWA is facing in 2018, the reconstruction of Nahr el-Bared remains a top priority for the Agency.”
Ambassador Huth said: “German funding to the reconstruction of Nahr el Bared does not only contribute to better housing and economic development, but is also a symbol that we are not forgetting the needs of Palestine refugees. Germany stands ready to continue to support the crucial work of UNRWA and the development of all Palestinians.”
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.
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