UNITED STATES NEWS

Fighting has left half of Lebanon’s largest Palestinian refugee camp `a hot area,’ UN says

Aug 10, 2023, 3:04 PM

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Days of fighting in the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon displaced several hundred families, destroyed up to 400 houses and left half the camp still off-limits and considered “a hot area,” a senior U.N. official said Thursday.

Dorothee Klaus, Director of the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, said she was able to visit part of the Ein el-Hilweh camp for the first time earlier this week and met with traumatized children and women, some whose hair turned white during the hostilities.

The fighting between members of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah group and militants of Islamic groups at Ein el-Hilweh near the southern port of Sidon that began July 30 and ended Aug. 3 left 13 people dead and dozens wounded.

Klaus said “the camp remains unstable,” with the Lebanese military barring access to half the camp because armed fighters are still positioned there and it’s not safe though hostilities have ceased.

She told U.N. journalists at a video press conference that the U.N. agency, known as UNRWA, has reopened services in about 50% of the camp which includes one health center, but a school complex for over 3,000 children was also damaged.

“We’ve been collecting garbage, disinfecting, and started removing rubble,” she said, and when the other half of the camp reopens the first thing will be to remove unexploded ordnance and remnants of war.

Ein el-Hilweh, which is home to over 50,000 Palestinian refugees, is one of a dozen refugee camps in Lebanon. The country has between 200,000 and 250,000 Palestinian refugees, half living in camps and the rest in the vicinity, she said.

Violent clashes are a regular occurrence and many camps have been destroyed several times, Klaus said, pointing to previous clashes in Ein el-Hilweh in March.

She said the violence “needs to be understood in the context of multiple displacements” Palestinian refugees have experienced over the past 75 years in Lebanon. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled from what is now Israel following the U.N.’s partition of British-ruled Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states in 1948.

Refugees in Lebanon are still prevented from working in middle class professions as doctors, lawyers and engineers and they are barred from owning property, so all those who have studied have migrated “leaving very vulnerable populations behind,” Klaus said.

She said 50% of men over the age of 16 are unemployed, the remainder have sporadic employment, and 80% of refugees live in poverty.

“So, it is indeed, a very desperate picture for a community that has very little future outlook that is positive after 75 years,” Klaus said. “It is a population that is very depressed, and that comes from a sense of being very helpless,” which often translates into either aggression, self-destructive behavior including substance abuse, or violence within the family.

The impact of the most recent violence is that the refugee community has been retraumatized, she said, still suffering from “very high rates of non-communicable diseases which we attribute to very high levels of stress.”

Klaus said UNRWA needs $12 million to provide cash assistance to 65% of the refugees, which she said would be “a major stabilizing factor,” especially at a time that Lebanon is facing a major economic crisis.

Can anything be done to prevent another violent clash in the refugee camps?

“Every crisis is an opportunity to thrash out a roadmap for preventing this from happening,” Klaus said. “We’re counting on a high-level meeting between various Palestinian parties and the Lebanese next week which we will also participate in, looking at some of the mechanisms for the rehabilitation and reconstruction process – and some of these questions will certainly be asked.”

United States News

Associated Press

Semiautomatic firearm ban passes Colorado’s House, heads to Senate

DENVER (AP) — Colorado’s Democratic-controlled House on Sunday passed a bill that would ban the sale and transfer of semiautomatic firearms, a major step for the legislation after roughly the same bill was swiftly killed by Democrats last year. The bill, which passed on a 35-27 vote, is now on its way to the Democratic-led […]

15 minutes ago

Associated Press

Four people charged in the case of 2 women missing from Oklahoma

Four people were arrested and charged with murder and kidnapping over the weekend in connection with the disappearances of two Oklahoma women. Veronica Butler, 27; and Jilian Kelley, 39, of Hugoton, Kansas, were driving through the Oklahoma panhandle to pick up Butler’s children for a March 30 birthday party in Kansas but never showed up. […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

Detectives solve 1968 killing of World War II veteran who became milkman, Florida sheriff says

VERO BEACH, Fla. (AP) — More than five decades after a World War II veteran was slain while working as a milkman in Florida, investigators say they’ve solved the case thanks to two people who came forward after the killer died. Hiram “Ross” Grayam was delivering milk in April 1968 and failed to return home […]

7 hours ago

Associated Press

Gene Herrick, AP photographer who covered the Korean war and civil rights, dies at 97

RICH CREEK, Va. (AP) — Gene Herrick, a retired Associated Press photographer who covered the Korean War and is known for his iconic images of Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and the trial of the killers of Emmett Till in the early years of the Civil Rights Movement, died Friday. He was 97. In […]

7 hours ago

Associated Press

US works to prevent an escalation across the Mideast as Biden pushes Israel to show restraint

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States on Sunday highlighted its role in helping Israel thwart Iran’s aerial attack as President Joe Biden convened leaders of the Group of Seven countries in an effort to prevent a wider regional escalation and coordinate a global rebuke of Tehran. The U.S. assisted Israel in shooting down dozens of […]

7 hours ago

Associated Press

Wife of ex-Harvard morgue manager pleads guilty to transporting stolen human remains

WILLIAMSPORT. Pa. (AP) — The wife of a former Harvard Medical School morgue manager has pleaded guilty to a federal charge after investigators said she shipped stolen human body parts — including hands, feet and heads — to buyers. Denise Lodge, 64, of Goffstown, New Hampshire, pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in the […]

8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

Fighting has left half of Lebanon’s largest Palestinian refugee camp `a hot area,’ UN says