Hygiene kits help improve living conditions for Syrian refugees in Lebanon
UNDP has been distributing simple items which will make the lives easier for thousands of refugees from Syria living in Palestinian gatherings.
A Palestinian refugee from Syria and a mother of two children, Rim investigates the contents of a large, blue pail with the UNDP logo on the side. “These simple items can be life saving,” she says, pulling out a flashlight, band-aid, women heard scarf, and family underwear, among more than 20 hygiene and dignity items. After conducting a rapid assessment of WASH needs in Palestinian Gatherings, UNDP has identified priority items to include in a family-kit, aiming to help dwellers of Palestinian Gatherings, and Palestinian and Syrian refugees from Syria in particular, carry out everyday requirements and prevent health hazards.
- Since 2012, UNDP and UNHABITAT have combined their efforts to improve the living conditions of Palestinian gatherings across Lebanon.
- The project is expected to strengthen the resilience of 42 Palestinian gatherings and mitigate social tensions by improving access to basic urban services and improving the shelter conditions for more than 110,000 dwellers.
- Funding has been provided by the Government of Germany, the Swiss Agency for Development and Coordination, and the US Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.
Rim, who has been living in the Al Qasmieh Palestinian Gathering, or encampment for Palestinians in Lebanon and others fleeing the violence in Syria, has had little to rejoice about since she fled from her home country eight months ago. At the two-room congested shelter in the Gathering, her family has struggled to survive with very scarce resources. And for many women and children, personal hygiene products are even more difficult to come by. Like Rim and her family, there are 35,000 Palestinians as well as Syrians displaced from Syria seeking refuge in the 42 Palestinian Gatherings in Lebanon, where population has reached over 135,000.
To alleviate the living conditions of more than 3,800 families in Lebanon, UNDP and partners have been distributing a family kit of hygiene items that will make life a little easier and help prevent the outbreak of diseases in the often overcrowded camps, suffering from diarrhea and head lice. This month, UNDP and UNHABITAT, are leading the distribution across Lebanon, with the support of their local partner Popular Aid for Relief and Development, with a focus on the most crowded and vulnerable Gatherings and refugees.
“We need the items in this kit,” say women at the gathering. “The flashlight inside it is so important, especially when often there’s no electricity and the floor of our shelters is muddy and rocky.” As to the bucket, she added it would come in handy to collect and preserve water for daily use for her family.
The project is part of a US$ 300,000 WASH campaign seeking to help restore the rights of dwellers of Palestinian Gatherings to a healthy environment, by helping dwellers prioritize access clean water, basic sanitation, and good hygiene practices. This campaign is designed to complement the work on improving infrastructure and shelter that the two UN agencies are already undertaking in 42 Palestinian Gatherings across Lebanon.
“This project is passing a crucial milestone on the way to our goal of making equal access to services a reality in Palestinian Gatherings,” says Fadi Abilmona, Programme Analyst for UNDP Crisis Prevention and Recovery Portfolio in Lebanon. “Last year, we implemented 54 urgent infrastructure projects in 22 Gatherings and 7 localities and we succeeded to rehabilitate and equip 317 shelters in Gatherings across the country. By the end of 2014, we hope to have helped 100,000 dwellers in Palestinian Gatherings.”