The destruction of Nahr el-Bared camp (NBC) in 2007 led to the loss of the homes and properties of the Palestinian community. Over 27,000 Palestine refugees were forced to abandon their homes. The UNRWA compound housing the Agency’s health centre, schools and relief office was also completely destroyed. Almost seven years later, much of the community remains uprooted and continues to rely heavily on assistance from UNRWA.
The effects of this displacement have compounded the already severe socioeconomic conditions facing these refugees and constitute a chronic humanitarian crisis. While UNRWA has continued to provide urgent relief assistance to displaced NBC residents since 2007, shortfalls in available funding have forced the Agency to review its level of relief provision and to target scarce resources at those most desperately in need.
The total estimated cost of reconstructing NBC is US$ 345 million, of which US$ 188 million has been secured to date. This leaves a shortfall of US$ 157 million which needs to be found. The shortfall in relief assistance for NBC for 2013 is US$ 6.4 million. The budget for 2014 is estimated at US$ 8.7 million.
The reconstruction of Nahr el-Bared Camp (NBC) is the largest project that UNRWA has ever implemented in any of its five fields of operation. The project involves the reconstruction of residential units for 4,867 families, 1,105 shops, the UNRWA Compound and all camp infrastructure. The physical reconstruction of NBC commenced in November 2009 following the removal of over 500,000 cubic metres of rubble and the successful clearance of over 12,500 unexploded ordinances (UXOs).
For ease of planning and delivery, the reconstruction of NBC was divided into 8 Packages. To date, all of Package 1 and most of Package 2 have been completed and handed over, three of the Blocks in Package 3 are completed, three are underway and the remaining block will be commencing in early 2014. In Package 4, which is fully funded, work has commenced on six of the eight Blocks, with the remaining two to commence soon after. Package 5 is currently at the design stage and funding for this and the other three remaining Packages is currently being sought.
In the UNRWA compound, construction of the health centre and five of the six school complexes, including the Northern Training Centre (NTC), has been completed. The remaining school, currently unfunded, will be constructed once later Packages in the development have been completed. Funding for the reconstruction of the Camp Services Office and the NGO offices (Women’s Programme Centre and Audi Club) is also needed.
As of January 2014, 1,321 families (5,857 residents) have returned to live in their new apartments and 284 shops have been provided for traders. The remaining 3,546 displaced families (15,723 residents), however, continue to live in temporary accommodation in the NBC-adjacent areas and in nearby Beddawi camp.