Lebanon + 1 more

INTERSOS in North Lebanon

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News and Press Release
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Lebanon, 27.5.07 - The fleeing of thousands of people from the Nahar el Bared camp, following clashes between the Fatah al Islam militia and the Lebanese army has been provoking constant tension in the area of Tripoli, in Northern Lebanon, for over a week. The camp hosts over 40.000 Palestinian refugees, of which only 20% have remained following the clashes.

The emergency activities target not only those Palestinian refugees who have remained trapped in the Nahar el Bared camp, but mostly those who were forced to abandon their houses leaving everything behind. More than twenty thousand refugees, in particular elders, children and women have sought shelter in other camps located in the city or in the South of the country, where they have been temporarily hosted in public spaces, in which basic hygienic conditions are missing.

Intersos, in collaboration with UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Work agency for Palestine refugees in the Near East), has carried out a first emergency intervention in the Beddawi camp, eleven kilometres from Nahar el Bared, in which over 15.000 refugees (about 4000 families) are currently hosted. Half of these refugees are being sheltered in five highly overcrowded schools.

In collaboration with the Lebanese "Aid Lebanon", other humanitarian organizations of the United Nations and the Palestinian associations already operating in the camp, an assistance network has been set up to respond to the basic needs of the weakest segments of the population.

Over 2.200 mattresses have been distributed yesterday by INTERSOS' emergency team in the camp, so as to create the minimum conditions for the care of the elderly, the sick and the children hosted in the classrooms and public buildings in conditions of extreme vulnerability.

In the following days, in coordination with other humanitarian organizations, INTERSOS will continue its humanitarian activities on behalf of the refugees of the camps close to Nahar el Bared and the other areas of Lebanon. The impact of the fighting and heavy shelling has been particularly harsh on the children.