Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Despair, trauma, discontent among Nahr al-Bared's impoverished Palestinians

Report, Electronic Lebanon, 30 September 2008

"NAHR AL-BARED (IRIN) - They look like cargo crates: long lines of prefabricated steel units, stacked two high, set on the edge of the ruined Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon.

Inside each airless 18 square meter unit there is a toilet, gas burner and tatty mattresses on the bare wooden floor. This is the bedroom, bathroom and kitchen for Palestinian families like Hayat Jundi's, whose home in Nahr al-Bared was destroyed in last summer's battle between the army and Islamist militants.......

Little Arab financial support for UNRWA

So far UNRWA says it has received just $70 million, 88 percent from Western donations, which also make up 90 percent of funds pledged for short-term relief. To date, no Arab governments have pledged to the long-term reconstruction of the camp, the largest single project in UNRWA's history.

"Sadly this is part of a pattern," said Leila Shahid, a Palestinian representative at the European Union, in a recent editorial.

"Luxembourg donates more than any Arab government to UNRWA's regular budget, while Norway gives more to the same budget annually than all Arab governments combined."

In a bid to highlight the plight of the Palestinians displaced from Nahr al-Bared, UNRWA last week organized a rare tour to areas of the new camp. IRIN's previous visit to the camp was in December........"

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