Lebanon + 1 more

UNRWA launches Lebanon flash appeal for US $ 12.7 million - As the situation in Palestine refugee camps deteriorates significantly

UNRWA Beirut - June 4, 2007 - With the situation in the Nahr El Bared and the Beddawi refugee camps in North Lebanon worsening significantly, UNRWA is launching today a Flash Appeal for US $12.7 million to address the urgent needs of the thousands of Palestine refugees displaced by the fighting in and around Nahr El Bared. More than 27,000 Palestine refugees have so far fled their homes, most taking refuge in the nearby Beddawi camp.

The money will be spent on delivering assistance to the displaced over the coming 90 days. It includes plans for food assistance, non food items and shelter, both immediately in order to relieve the congestion of Beddawi camp and in the short term to ensure suitable temporary shelters and provide minimum and dignified living standards to those in distress.

The Flash Appeal also includes provisions for emergency health, water, sanitation services and protection, as well as a means to enable refugee pupils affected by the crisis to sit for public examinations.

The population of Beddawi camp has swollen from 16,000 persons to around 37,000, jeopardizing the lives of inhabitants and stretching the already over-crowded living conditions. Displaced persons have very little resources to cater for their needs, and the coping mechanisms of hosting refugee families are severely strained. Many displaced refugees are suffering from stress and trauma as a result of their ordeal, with the needs of children a particular concern.

UNRWA is working with officials in Tripoli to prepare temporary alternative accommodation for some displaced families to ease the over-crowdedness of the camp, pending the return of the displaced to Nahr El Bared.

The Commissioner General of UNRWA, Karen AbuZayd, said "The situation in the camps was already extremely difficult and now it has deteriorated even further. This fighting has placed refugees in the front line and I am very concerned about the precarious situation in which they find themselves. Life in Beddawi Camp has become unbearable and I appeal to donors to help us take immediate action."

For more information please contact UNRWA Public Information Office tel: +961-1-840462 ext 314. e-mail: h.samra@unrwa.org