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Reference : V-P-LB-E-00984
Date : 21/02/2008
Country/Region : LEBANON
Caption : Tripoli, Nahr el Bared Palestinian camp. Rehabilitation of water reservoir.
Photographer : RAICH, Jordi
Confidentiality level : public
Publication restrictions : publication without restrictions
Copyright : ICRC
Description : Home > The ICRC worldwide > Middle East and North Africa > Lebanon

11-03-2008 Feature

Lebanon: ICRC helps restore water, work and hope at Nahr el-Bared
Life is slowly returning to the once-thriving camp of Nahr el-Bared, in northern Lebanon, which was devastated by three months of fighting in 2007. The ICRC is helping in the rebirth of the camp by restoring the water supply. Samar el Kadi reports from Tripoli.

Water works inside the devastated camp

The ICRC, which played a key role in assisting the civilian population during the hostilities, began its rehabilitation programme just a month after the end of fighting between the Lebanese Army and militiamen of Fatah el-Islam.

Following an assessment of water needs and the damaged infrastructure, and in cooperation with the UN and Works Agency (UNRWA), the ICRC began rehabilitating the main water lines and assisting the war-affected population returning to the camp, originally home to some 30,000 Palestinian refugees.

Two months after work began in early November 2007, ICRC's water engineers had completed the network in the southern section of the camp, having laid about a kilometer of water pipes. These will allow for connections to potential future networks, to service the old part of the camp that is still a mound of ruins and gutted buildings.

Since then, work has started on the line to service other parts of the camp. The work has to take into account not only present needs but likely growth, comments ICRC water engineer Paul-Henri Bourlon.

One of the main challenges facing humanitarian organizations in the initial phase was to cater for the immediate needs of the returning population while launching the 4-month project, explains ICRC field officer Randa Sabeh Aoin.

"The first thing we did was to ensure that water could be trucked from the existing Jenin well to meet the emergency needs of some 1,200 returning families," she says.

The Islamic Relief and ACTED (Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development) take care of the trucking of water. An average of 75 truck-loads, of 4,000 litres each, ensure the daily water supply to the returnees, including 125 families relocated in temporary shelters built by UNRWA near the camp.

Another problem that the ICRC had to overcome was the loss of records, including infrastructure plans. "We were going around talking to people, prodding their memory to locate the existing water lines," Bourlon says.

In all, the ICRC has so far renovated two reservoirs (60 cubic metres each) and is repairing a third. It is also installing chlorination equipment for treating the water in four wells and installing a generator and pump at another one.

ICRC water projects at Nahr el-Bared are helping to secure badly-needed jobs for the impoverished camp population, who lost their livelihoods and homes in the fighting. The number of daily workers employed by ICRC varies according to needs.

"People are in dire need of work and of an income. Definitely, the ICRC created opportunities for work," notes Abou Othman, the foreman, himself a camp resident.

The projects are due to be completed by the end of March, at an estimated cost of $250,000. The camp will then benefit from a new main water line, which UNRWA can develop by installing branch lines that will provide water to the family homes of the future.

Original material : digital
Resolution : 4368x2912
Orientation : landscape
Colour/B&W : colour