Nahr El Bared Community Center Inaugurated in Northern Lebanon
February 12, 2009 | Nahr El Bared, Lebanon American Near East Refugee Aid (Anera) and partner UnPonte Per reopened the Beit Atfal Assumoud Association Community Center in the Nahr El Bared refugee camp. The center was nearly destroyed in the 2007 fighting between Fatah al Islam militants and the Lebanese army.
Beit Atfal Assumoud is the first community-geared facility to reopen in the camp. The buildings upper two floors had been heavily damaged by shelling during the three months of fighting. The centers computers, dental and educational equipment, electrical installations, furniture and generator were either looted or burned. Fortunately, the structure was sound enough for the facility to be rehabilitated.The rehabilitated center will provide preschool programs, dental clinic, library space and vocational training center.
The refugee camps reconstruction has been slow, in part because of a $400 million funding shortfall and uncertainty about the camps future.
Restoring basic services and reconstructing the Nahr El Bared camp is a fundamental requirement for the Palestinian population in Lebanon, says Aneras Lebanon Country Director Robert Mosrie. After the camps senseless destruction in 2007 and the recent bombing in the Gaza Strip, Palestinians are questioning their faith in the international communitys commitment to protect the human rights and general welfare of the Palestinian people.
In addition to the community center, a public park was also inaugurated. The park gives the children of Nahr El Bared camp a safe place to play. It was built with support from Anera and the U.S.-based Playgrounds for Palestine as well as private donor Mazen Afifi, after whom the park is named. The park is located next to temporary housing units and a pre-fabricated UNRWA school, both built from stacked shipping containers.