$25 million Saudi donation will provide housing for 500 Palestinian families

May 8, 2009

The United Nations said Thursday that a $25 million donation from Saudi Arabia to the U.N. Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) will enable 500 families to return to newly constructed homes in the Nahr el-Bared refugee camp in north Lebanon.

“The contribution of Saudi Development Fund will complete financing for the reconstruction of the infrastructure and the housing units, thus enabling around 500 displaced families to return to their newly-reconstructed houses and businesses in the camp,” a statement from UNRWA said.

At a ceremony held in Amman on May 5th, UNRWA Commissioner General Karen Abu Zayd said that the Saudi donation “comes at a vital time, as we are about to enter the construction phase of the Nahr el-Bared project.” She added that “the support of Saudi Development Fund will help build momentum in our work and provide a clear signal to the refugee community that the camp will be reconstructed.”

Meanwhile, Ambassador Khalil Makkawi, chairman of the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee in Beirut, thanked Saudi Arabia for the contribution. “The Lebanese government highly values the generous contribution of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia towards the reconstruction of Nahr el-Bared camp,” he said in a statement. “This is another sign of the long-standing commitment of the Kingdom to support Lebanon, the Palestinian cause and the rights of Palestinians.”

The Nahr el-Bared refugee camp, home to 27,000 Palestinians, was destroyed in the summer of 2007 during heavy fighting between the Lebanese Army and Palestinian militants.