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EU Ambassador Lassen visits Nahr elBared Camp, highlights support for reconstruction efforts

EU Ambassador Christina Lassen visited on Tuesday the Nahr el-Bared Palestinian refugee camp to see first-hand the on-going reconstruction efforts, and to view the areas where house reconstruction for families who remain displaced will take place, thanks to the EU's recently announced support of Euros 12 million. Ambassador Lassen also met with refugees who returned to newly reconstructed houses.

"In response to the Lebanese Government's call for more support to the reconstruction of the Nahr el-Bared Camp, the European Union has decided to donate an extra Euros 12 million in addition to more than Euros 44 million for relief and reconstruction already provided over the last years.

Today, I am visiting the Nahr el-Bared Camp for the first time totake stock of the reconstruction efforts. I met with both Palestinian refugees who have been able to go back to new houses and those who still wait to be re-housed. We are happy to see that the work is progressing, but much is still to be done".

Almost half of the camp's displaced families have returned to newly reconstructed homes to date with support from a wide range of international donors. Given current funding to the Nahrel-Bared reconstruction effort, it is envisaged that almost 3,400 families or 70% of the population will return to their homes by 2019.

"UNRWA appreciates the substantial support of the European Union in response to the Nahr el-Bared crisis and for our continued partnership and cooperation," said the Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon a.i, Mr HakamShahwan, who accompanied the visit. "Today's visit shows the community of Nahr el-Bared that UNRWA and the European Union stand with them", Mr Shahwan added.

UNRWA, the Lebanese Government and donorsaim to ensure the full reconstruction of Nahr el-Bared Camp. Recent contributions pledged in the presence of Lebanese authorities, UNRWA's Commissioner General and the international donor communityat the Grand Serail on October 5 have rejuvenated efforts to reconstruct the camp. UNRWA is appealing for funds to complete the remaining part of the reconstruction and return the remaining 1,577 displaced families.

Since 1971, the European Union and UNRWA have maintained a strategic partnership governed by the shared objective to support the human development, humanitarian and protection needs of Palestine refugees and promote stability in the Middle East.

Today, the European Union is the largest multilateral provider of international assistance to Palestine refugees.

This reliable and predictable support from the European Union enables UNRWA to provide daily quality education for roughly half a million children and primary health care for more than 3.5 million patients in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza.

The partnership between the European Union and UNRWA has allowed millions of Palestine refugees to be better educated, live healthier lives, access employment opportunities and improve their living conditions, thus contributing to the development of the entire region.

In October 2016, the EU announced a new Euros 12 million contribution in support of UNRWA's efforts for the reconstruction of the Nahr el Bared Camp (NBC) in Lebanon. This is in addition to Euros 20,435,416 already provided.

Furthermore, since the onset of the Nahr el-Bared crisis in 2007, the EU has provided Euros 23,553,674 in relief and recovery assistance for the camp's displaced.

Therefore, the EU's total contribution is almost Euros 44 million.

The Euros 12 million contribution to be funded under the EU Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP),will go to support the rehousing of approximately 400 families and 87 retail units.

It builds on the EU support to date to rehouse 350 families and build 68 retail units, enabling the community of NBC to revitalise their economic and social life.

Source: National News Agency