Date Published: 25 May 2007
UNICEF Lebanon joins UNRWA response to needs of children & women in El Bared crisis
Tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians continue to flee Nahr El Bared camp in northern Lebanon, and the toll of conflict and displacement weighs most heavily on children, says UNICEF. In support of and in close coordination with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), UNICEF Lebanon's priority is to ensure that the most urgent needs of children and women are met.
UNICEF joins UNRWA and its NGO partners in advocating for the safety of children and their families still in Nahr El Bared. As of May 25, an estimated 10,000 civilians remain in the embattled camp with only sporadic humanitarian support during very brief ceasefire periods. The safety of children and families still living in the camp and their access to humanitarian aid must become the first priority for all parties.
Experts in emergency response, water and sanitation, and child protection from UNICEF joined an UNRWA assessment mission this week in Tripoli, including the Baddawi camp, which is currently housing approximately 10,000 ? 15,000 refugees. Five schools inside Baddawi camp have stopped classes and turned into displacement centres for more than 5,000 refugees, where families are sleeping on mattresses in extremely crowded conditions. Hundreds more families are staying with friends and relatives who were already living in crowded apartments in Baddawi camp. Others are living in guesthouses and centres within the camp, and more than 1,000 refugees have left northern Lebanon to other Palestinian refugee camps in other parts of the country.
Children living in Nahr El Bared have been through unspeakable trauma. Already living in a refugee situation, they have witnessed their homes being destroyed, loved ones being killed or injured, and were trapped in their homes hearing the terrifying sounds of gunfire around them. In addition to ensuring that children's physical needs are met, UNICEF is committed to facilitating emotional recovery, working with UNRWA and NGO partners to make living conditions as child-friendly as possible, and ensuring that children return to school. In addition to restoring a sense of normalcy that is so vital to emotional recovery, the return to classrooms is particularly critical for older youth scheduled to take qualifying exams that will secure their future higher education.
To date, UNICEF has committed the following supplies and services to the emergency, in close coordination with UNRWA and partner NGOs for distribution. These supplies have either already been sent or are in process.
Water and sanitation:
- 2,900 two-litre bottles of water
- 90,000 five-litre bottles of water
- 24 collapsible water tanks (5,000 litres each)
- 19 rigid water tanks (1,500 litres each)
- Water treatment plant (will provide clean water to 1400 families)
- 180 family hygiene kits (items include soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, diapers, detergent, toilet paper and towels)
- Water kits for 100 families (jerrycans, buckets, soap, water purification tablets)
- Obstetrics kits to handle 150 deliveries
- Essential drugs (e.g., antibiotics, oral rehydration salts, asthma/allergy medications, anti-diarrheals) and basic medical supplies
- Technical support to NGO partners on breastfeeding and nutrition issues
- Recreation kits (including games, paper, pens and sport equipment) are being procured for distribution
- Information on safety for vulnerable children (especially girls) in displacement situations is being produced (protection from abduction, etc.)
Further information will be provided as more supplies are dispatched. Media are encouraged to also refer to UNRWA news releases and updates.