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UN seeks $445 million to rebuild Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon

20 June 2008 – The United Nations and the Lebanese Government will be seeking $445 million to rebuild the devastated Nahr El-Bared Palestinian refugee camp during an international donor conference to be held in Vienna on Monday.

The camp, situated in northern Lebanon, was the scene of heavy fighting from May to September 2007 between the national army and Fatah el-Islam gunmen. The violence left 30,000 Palestinian refugees and Lebanese homeless.

Matthias Burchard of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) told reporters in Geneva that 70 countries and international organizations had been invited to the conference, which is being hosted by Austria in cooperation with Lebanon, the European Commission and the Arab League.

The reconstruction of the Nahr El-Bared camp represents the largest undertaking in UNRWA’s history, and will require the building of a new town with houses, schools, health centres, mosques and other community facilities, as well as a UN compound and associated infrastructure, he noted.

In a related development, Mr. Burchard said UNRWA will be launching a 10-week summer programme for 250,000 children and youth in the Gaza Strip tomorrow.

The agency and its partners will be providing a range of activities in over 300 locations, including educational programmes, sports, gymnastics and arts and crafts.

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