Palestinian refugees in Lebanon

This campaign may be of interest to readers of Khaldoun, and please also forward to anyone you think might be willing to contribute to ANERA’s campaign to address the dire circumstances of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

For those who don’t know, over 30,000 Palestinian refugees in Lebanon remain displaced after last summer’s siege of the Nahr al-Bared camp and there seems little reason to think that camp will ever be rebuilt for the use of refugees, further exacerbating conditions at the camps (principally Shatila, Burj al-Barajneh and Baddawi) to which the displaced
were forced. Given the already incredibly cramped conditions at all of the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, the influx of the destitute Nahr al-Bared population into the remaining camps has strained limited infrastructure beyond the breaking point.

ANERA’s campaign is one of few (also, please see the website of the Nahr El-Bared Relief Campaign: http://www.nahrelbaredcampaign.org/) to address this clear humanitarian crisis.  I hope those who read this e-mail below from ANERA’s director will consider contributing.

______________________________________________________________

Dear Friend,

Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

They face a discriminatory labor market, limited or non-existent access to education and health services, and complicated formalities to prove they have a right to be in the country at all. They face staggering rates of joblessness, internal fighting, and disgraceful housing conditions.According to United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA), Lebanon has the highest percentage of Palestinian refugees living in abject poverty. 300,000 Palestinian refugees in Lebanon — who were, or their descendants were, displaced in 1948 — constitute one of the world’s longest suffering refugee populations.

60 years of waiting, 60 years of declining conditions, 60 years of disbelief and feeling they have been forgotten.

We’ve undertaken a major new program focusing on tangibly improving the living conditions for Palestinian refugees and low-income Lebanese families in the underserved communities of the greater Tyre area. It is here, in southern Lebanon, where families are crowded into informal refugee camps known as “gatherings”. These gatherings lack the basic infrastructure for acceptable standards of health and security.

They live on top of open channels of sewage and rotting piles of garbage, increasing the spread of disease. Narrow, unlit alleyways facilitate crime and cause fear at night. The desperation of poverty and the loss of hope are fertile ground for fomenting discord and promoting violence.

ANERA is working with local Lebanese and Palestinian partners on a broad program focusing on southern Lebanon to do the following:

* rehabilitate housing
* eliminate environmental hazards putting families’ health at risk
* engender reconciliation between Lebanese and Palestinian communities

We continue to work with many communities who are mending their lives and infrastructure from the war in 2006. We have brought aid to generations of people healing from wounds inflicted by the long civil war that ended almost two decades ago. We are dedicated to the Palestinian families who have waited 60 years for resolution and peace to come back to their lives. And we continue to expand upon and implement new projects throughout the Middle East.

This is why I have two crucial requests today.

1. Donate as much as you can to fund ANERA’s essential programs, especially in Lebanon right now.

2. Forward this email to your friends and family.

We can’t always predict, but we can always prepare. When the need of so many is so glaring and desperate, we must respond. Donor support has helped to sustain our efforts for forty years. On behalf of the families you have touched, thank you. You help people throughout the Middle East live with the dignity that we all deserve.

Let the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon know that they are not forgotten, and that the fog of violence will not disrupt our commitment to them.

Gratefully,

Bill Corcoran
President
ANERA
1522 K Street NW, # 600
Washington, DC 20005
http://www.anera.org

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