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Lebanon: better health care for Palestinians in Nahr el Bared

11-01-2012 News Release

Beirut (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Palestine Red Crescent Society today inaugurated an emergency and community health centre in the Palestinian camp of Nahr el Bared in northern Lebanon.

The ICRC had pledged to build the centre to improve access to health-care services for people in the camp after a Palestine Red Crescent clinic was destroyed there during the conflict in 2007.

"Handing over this clinic to the Palestine Red Crescent symbolises what the ICRC stands for as well as what true cooperation for a humanitarian cause can and should achieve," said Jürg Montani, the head of the ICRC delegation in Lebanon. "It is natural that the ICRC, as a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, helps the Palestine Red Crescent provide health-care services for the Palestinian population. We trust that this centre will go some way to improve the heath-care services available in Nahr el Bared."

The inauguration ceremony took place in the presence of Palestine Red Crescent Society President Dr Younis al Khatib and of Mr Montani. It was also attended by the consul of the Palestinian embassy, Mahmoud Al-Assadi, by UNRWA's director in Lebanon, Salvadore Lombardo, and by representatives of the Lebanese army and Palestinian factions.

The 550-square-metre facility, which took 14 months to build, will be capable of providing outpatient services for dozens of patients every day. It can accommodate a theatre for minor operations, a laboratory and an X-ray room in addition to four in-patient beds. One section of the structure is available for use as a library, a playroom or offices.

The ICRC performed a number of humanitarian tasks in Nahr el Bared during the 2007 conflict and after hostilities ended in August of that year. In particular, it upgraded the camp's primary water distribution network – which was designed to supply water for 30,000 people – and repaired three water reservoirs, in addition to installing generators in each of the two existing pumping stations.

The ICRC has been working since 1967 in Lebanon, where its main activity consists in providing protection and assistance for civilians adversely affected by armed conflict and other violence.

For further information, please contact:
Samar el Kadi or Basma Tabaja, ICRC Beirut, tel: +961 70 153 928