UAE Red Crescent kick-starts ambitious Palestinian refugee camp redevelopment project in Syria
The UAE Red Crescent will donate $5 million to UNRWA under a new agreement signed in Abu Dhabi on 10th April. The funds will enable UNRWA to proceed to phase two of its innovative project to redevelop the Neirab camp near Aleppo, Syria.
The project, the biggest which UNRWA has under way, will comprehensively rehabilitate Neirab camp which houses 18,000 refugees. Neirab, originally a British army barracks, has some of the worst living conditions among the Agency’s 58 camps. The project breaks new ground in involving the refugees themselves at every step of the rehabilitation process including planning and design.
Under phase one of the project 300 new houses were built near Neirab at Ein el-Tal camp to allow the refugees living in the most abhorrent conditions to leave their shelters in Neirab, thereby decongesting the camp ready for rehabilitation . The donation by the UAERC is the first step towards the bigger second phase which will see a complete makeover of the old camp. The second phase is estimated to cost $32 million and is scheduled for completion in 2012.
Speaking at the signature ceremony in Abu Dhabi, Mr Mohammed Al Mulla, Deputy Secretary General of the UAERC, paid tribute to UNRWA’s fine work toward Palestine refugees, saying “The UAE Red Crescent was very pleased to be co-operating with UNRWA on the Neirab Project.
Welcoming the donation, the Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Karen Koning AbuZayd, said that she was “delighted to see phase two getting off the ground and especially pleased that it was taking place with a donation from the Agency’s senior partner among Arab donors, the UAERC. This”, she said, “was the third large donation by the UAERC to UNRWA for major camp redevelopments following earlier contributions to the rebuilding of Jenin and Khan Younes camps. It will not only enable the Agency to rehouse 680 refugees, provide the necessary associated infrastructure and build a new health center, but it will also encourage other donors to come forward. It came following recent generous donations by the President and government of the UAE to help alleviate hardship among refugees in Gaza”. Mrs Koning AbuZayd also expressed thanks to the Syrian government for its support for the Neirab project.
UNRWA is a humanitarian and human development agency providing education, health care, social services, micro-credit and emergency relief to over 4 million registered refugees living in the Gaza Strip, West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic. In Syria, the Agency provides assistance to over 450,000 refugees.