US provides third contribution for Nahr el-Bared reconstruction

13 May 2010

12 May 2010

The United States government announced today a new donation of US$20 million to the Nahr el-Bared camp project in north Lebanon. The announcement was made by US Ambassador Michele Sison at a ceremony held at UNRWA Lebanon Field Office in Beirut, in the presence of the President of the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee Ms Maya Majzoub, the Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon, Mr Salvatore Lombardo, and a group of displaced refugees from NBC.

The US has always been a generous supporter of UNRWA. Out of the new US $20 million donation, US $18 million has been allocated towards the construction of the devastated camp, and US $2 million has been earmarked for relief and recovery support in 2010, which will allow UNRWA to continue providing health, relief, housing and education services to the displaced refugees.

Speaking at the ceremony Ambassador Sison commended "the strong cooperation between UNRWA, the government of Lebanon, their many partners, and the Palestinian refugee community, as the reconstruction of the camp and surrounding areas moves forward. The United States remains committed to supporting these vital partnerships, with each component – the Lebanese, the Palestinians, the UN, and the international community – each contributing to ensuring that the critical needs of Palestinian refugees and Lebanese civilians affected by the fighting are met, until the process of reconstructing Nahr el-Bared camp is complete."

In her address, Ms Majzoub reiterated the commitment of the government of Lebanon towards the reconstruction of Nahr el-Bared camp, highlighting its partnership and close cooperation with UNRWA to secure a decent life for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, which will reflect positively on the security and stability of Lebanon. She stressed that it is only by joining efforts that challenges ahead can be overcome. Ms Majzoub thanked the US government for their new contribution, and for being the “major funder in the reconstruction of Nahr al-Bared Camp for the third year in a row.”

Thanking the US for its generous support to UNRWA and to Palestine refugees, the Director of UNRWA Affairs Lebanon, Salvatore Lombardo, said: “I am extremely grateful to our generous US donors for this contribution towards the reconstruction of Nahr el-Bared as well as support to relief operations for the 27,000 displaced residents. The reconstruction of Nahr el-Bared will contribute to greater stability for Palestinians and Lebanese alike, and that is why it is so important that reconstruction proceeds quickly. On the third anniversary of the beginning of the Nahr el-Bared crisis, I urge other donors to match this amount so that we can address the US $209 million funding shortfall and give the refugees some dignity and hope back in their lives."

With this donation, the US will have contributed US$91.8 million in total for Nahr el-Bared since the crisis broke out in 2007 – US$66.5 million for reconstruction, US$25.4 million for relief assistance, including for the construction and equipping of a temporary health centre in the NBC adjacent area. The US contributed US$3.5 million to the UN´s initial Flash Appeal (2007), and was the first donor country to respond to UNRWA’s Emergency Appeal for North Lebanon (2007-2008) with a pledge of US$10 million. Over 2008 and 2009, the US continued its support for displaced NBC refugees by donating to UNRWA US$48.5 million for the reconstruction of Nahr el-Bared and by providing two donations totalling US$9.31 million to the Relief and Early Recovery Appeal (RERA). With this new donation, the US will have donated US$115 million to UNRWA as a whole in 2010, a most appreciated contribution.


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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.

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