News / Middle East

    Palestinians in Lebanon Hold Little Hope for Reconstruction

    Three years after the war between the Lebanese Army and Fatah al-Islam has ended, most of the Nahr el-Bared camp remains in ruins, 05 Nov 2010
    Three years after the war between the Lebanese Army and Fatah al-Islam has ended, most of the Nahr el-Bared camp remains in ruins, 05 Nov 2010
    Heather Murdock

    They call the temporary housing "barracks" or "containers."  Some of the two-story blocks of rooms are made of concrete, and they are decorated.  Others are made of tin.

    For more than three years, about 10,000 Palestinian refugees in Lebanon have been living in the barracks, after their camp was destroyed in a three-month-long battle between the Lebanese Army and an Islamic militant group known as Fatah al-Islam.

    “This house is for animals,” said Ahmed Abueid, as he poked his head into a single metal room that houses six Palestinian refugees on the outskirts of the Nahr el-Bared camp in northern Lebanon.   “Animals cannot live like this.  We want to go to our houses in old camp.  Quickly."

    Abueid is one of about 30,000 Palestinian refugees in Lebanon displaced by the war that left 400 people dead and the camp demolished.  Most of the camp's buildings are still heaps of gray rubble, riddled with bullet holes.

    Abueid said he was promised a new home after his building was flattened in 2007, but now has little hope that the camp will be rebuilt.

    Families say in the over-crowded temporary housing, their children are often sick.
    Families say in the over-crowded temporary housing, their children are often sick.

    In the barracks, displaced families say they rely on the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency for small amounts of food and medicine.  In neighboring towns, displaced families receive $150 a month to help pay the rent.

    But the United Nations says the families may be cut off in the next few months for lack of funding.  The agency has not been able to raise any of the $18 million needed to sustain these basic services in 2011.

    Agency spokesperson Hoda Samra Souaiby said if help does not arrive soon, families will stop receiving aid before the end of the year.

    "If the funding does not come,” she said, “more than 3,400 families would be left without rental subsidies, of course, and the whole relief operations will have to stop.  But I do not think we will reach this stage, and I certainly hope that we would not reach this stage."

    The reconstruction process has long been marred by delays and lack of funding.  The United Nations says it has only enough money to rebuild about 25 percent of the camp.

    Souaiby said there is no way of knowing when more of the camp might be completed, because the agency still needs $209 million for the project.  

    "Previous camps that have been destroyed in Lebanon were never rebuilt,” she added.  “This in itself is a challenge.  It is the reconstruction of a whole city, a whole town."

    Nancy's mother says her temporary apartment is infested with mice or rats. When she was 2-years-old, Nancy was bitten several times in the face.
    Nancy's mother says her temporary apartment is infested with mice or rats. When she was 2-years-old, Nancy was bitten several times in the face.

    The apartments in the barracks are cramped, leaky and sometimes infested with mice and bugs.  Teenage girls are sometimes forced to share rooms with their brothers, which is considered shameful by many Palestinians.  They say the food, medicine and small cash subsidies they receive from the United Nations are not nearly enough, and work is scarce.

    Those who do find jobs with construction companies rebuilding the camp say the pay is low, and often late.

    Mahmoud Getawi is a displaced refugee, working on reconstruction of the camp.  He often has to wait weeks for payments.  When he asked the company why, his supervisors blamed international donors who pledged funds but have not yet delivered it.  Construction is often halted when the companies do not have money.

    Getawi said he thinks his new home might be finished when his children, one of which is unborn, are adults.

    “Maybe they will be for my children,” he said, laughing.  “Not for me.”

    The United Nations estimates as many as 60 percent of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are un-employed or underemployed.  Even though there are several generations of Palestinians living in Lebanon, they are considered foreigners and need special permits to work.  They are banned from working in many professions, like medicine, engineering, and law.  They cannot buy or inherit property.

    Wafa Abdulla Abuaudi said three years ago, after the war, international organizations provided enough food for the refugees to survive.

    “After one year, they stopped,” she said, huddled in a concrete doorway in one of the barracks.

    Now, every three months she gets enough food to feed her family for two weeks and has no hope that she will ever move into a new house in the camp.  The first buildings might get finished, she said, but after that, the money will be gone, and the international community will forget about Nahr el-Bared.

    Other women who were born and raised in the Nahr el-Bared camp, and have never been to Palestine, joked about the reconstruction. "We'll get to move back to Palestine,” one woman said, “before we are able to move into those houses.”

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora