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News Lebanon: ICRC completes primary water supply to ruined refugee camp

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has completed rebuilding the primary water supply network in currently accessible areas of the ruined Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp, north Lebanon.

Up to 90 percent of the water infrastructure in the areas of Nahr al-Bared outside the official boundary of the "old camp" was damaged or destroyed in a 15-week battle in the summer of 2007 between the army and Islamist militants, according to the ICRC.

The conflict reduced the "old camp" - the original square kilometre of cinder block houses which comes under the jurisdiction of the UN Palestinian refugee agency, UNRWA - to rubble, and also inflicted huge damage on the new camp, where Palestinians had built homes on land rented from local Lebanese.

The US$300,000 four-month ICRC project laid down 2,700 new sections of pipes and provided two generators to power water pumps to pump water from the four wells and three reservoirs, one of which was repaired, that will serve the camp's total population of up to 40,000 people.

Just under 1,500 families have returned to the new camp since sections of it were opened in October. The old camp remains closed while the army continues clearing unexploded ordnance.

Launching a reconstruction plan last month, UNRWA and the Lebanese government said that rebuilding the old camp should be completed by August 2010 and put the cost at US$173 million. UNRWA will not undertake any reconstruction of homes in the new camp.

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News type Inbrief
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Source of information © IRIN. All rights reserved. More humanitarian news and analysis:
Geographical coverage Lebanon
News date 06/03/2008
Working language(s) ENGLISH