- Title: LEBANON: Journalists allowed into battered Lebanon camp for the first time
- Date: 29th September 2007
- Summary: VARIOUS OF MANGLED CARS DESTROYED HOUSES MORE OF DESTRUCTION LEBANESE ARMOURED VEHICLES DRIVING THROUGH CAMP
- Embargoed: 14th October 2007 13:00
- Location: Lebanon
- Country: Lebanon
- Topics: International Relations
- Reuters ID: LVADV7VA3CTZML2MFAY2O3AZ6R01
- Story Text: Journalists were allowed for the first time into the Nahr al-Bared camp where the Lebanese army and Islamists fought bloody battles for 15 weeks.
The Lebanese army allowed local and international media into the battered Nahr al-Bared camp on Friday (September 28), which was the centre of months-long fighting with militant Islamists that ended earlier in September.
Much of the camp that originally housed some 40,000 refugees lies in ruins.
The army has kept the camp under its control and prevented media and homeowners from accessing the camp after the fighting until it cleared out mines and booby traps left behind from the fighting.
The Lebanese government has promised to rebuild the camp for an estimated $382 million which it hopes to garner from Western and Arab donors.
The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) says the rebuilding and rehabilitation of the camp in northern Lebanon could take up as much as two years and needs up to 55 million U.S. dollars in finances for the first phase of the recovery.
UNRWA is in charge of planning the reconstruction of the camp and the temporary shelter for the displaced refugees in collaboration with other U.N.
agencies and the government.
The international community pledged some 20 million U. S. dollars to help rebuild the camp and help the displaced shortly after the fighting ended early in September. Most of the displaced are now living in overcrowded conditions in the nearby Beddawi camp.
Lebanon is host to some 400,000 refugees, half of them living in 12 camps across Lebanon.
Although Palestinians have little sympathy for Fatah al-Islam militants, the army's assault on the camp has angered many who believe poor civilians are paying the heaviest price for the crisis.
The fighting with Fatah al-Islam group, which shares some of al-Qaeda's ideology has killed more than 300 people. It was Lebanon's worst internal violence since the 1975-1990 civil war.
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