The challenge of rebuilding Lebanon's Nahr al-Bared refugee camp

Seventy years after millions of people fled the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, more than five million Palestinians are still registered by the UN as refugees. Many of them live in the 60 refugee camps spread around the region. Nahr al-Bared is one such camp in the north of Lebanon. More than ten years after the camp was virtually destroyed by the Lebanese army, our reporter looks at the progress made in rebuilding it.


Nahr al-Bared is a Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon, which once housed some 30,000 displaced Palestinians. But in May 2007, members of a jihadist group, Fatah al-Islam, hid in the camp after killing several Lebanese soldiers in their sleep. The response from the army was severe. Over a period of 100 days the camp was shelled and cleared - resulting in the worst clashes in Lebanon since the 1975-90 civil war. Nahr al-Bared was almost completely destroyed.

FRANCE 24 was the only Western media at the time to report from the camp and spoke to fleeing refugees.

Today, only half of the camp's residents have had their houses rebuilt. The others are left waiting outside on the border of Nahr al-Bared as "double refugees", in appalling conditions. Inside the camp, the streets have been widened to make it easier for Lebanese tanks to move around.

More than ten years on, our reporter Sofia Amara revisits Nahr al-Bared for FRANCE 24.

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