Rebuilding of Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon "too long overdue"

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) and his wife, Madam Yoo (Ban) Soon-taek, during visit at Nahr El-Bared camp in Lebanon. Photo: UNIFIL.

The reconstruction of a camp for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon that was destroyed during conflict nearly a decade ago is "too long overdue," the UN Secretary-General said on Friday.

Ban Ki-moon’s comments came following a visit to the Nahr El-Bared camp located in the northern city of Tripoli.

The camp was destroyed during a 2007 conflict between the Lebanese Armed Forces and an extremist group, Fatah al-Islam, which displaced approximately 27,000 people.

The Government and the international community have committed to rebuild the camp, but less than half of the US$345 million needed has been received.

Dianne Penn reports.

The UN Secretary-General, who was appointed in 2007, said Nahr El-Bared camp has been one of his top priorities.

Mr Ban said although nearly half of the camp has been rebuilt, many people are still waiting to return to their homes.

The UN chief told journalists that he has been urging the international community to provide the necessary funding.

"We have about 45 per cent of funding done. I am urging the international to provide the remaining funding, at least $200 million, so that these people can return. It's been too long overdue; it's longer than nine years. We are going to have the World Humanitarian Summit meeting in Istanbul in May and that will be one of the top priorities: how we can help all these refugees.”

Nahr El-Bared is one of 12 camps in Lebanon operated by the UN agency that assists Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.

In total, the country is hosting about 455,000 Palestinian refugees.

Lebanon has also welcomed more than one million Syrians who have fled the ongoing violence in their homeland.

The UN Secretary-General is in the country as part of a mission to the Middle East ahead of a High-Level Meeting on the Syrian refugee crisis that will be held next week in Geneva.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.





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