Monday, February 8, 2010

Nahr al-Bared's economic recovery hampered by military siege

I've been meaning to post this article for a couple of weeks. Follow the link at the bottom to read the whole thing.

Nahr al-Bared's economic recovery hampered by military siege
Ray Smith, Electronic Lebanon, 18 January 2010

More than two years after the end of the fighting, the war-torn Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared, located in northern Lebanon, is far from the model the Lebanese government has promised the camp would become. Instead, reconstruction of the camp is delayed, the area is a military zone with restricted access, and the camp's economy is stalled and residents are largely unemployed.

Following a 15-week war in the summer of 2007 between the Lebanese army and the militant group Fatah al-Islam, who occupied portions of the camp, Nahr al-Bared was totally destroyed. So far, about two-thirds of its 30,000 Palestinian inhabitants have returned and resettled on the camp's outskirts. One of them is Jihad Awed, who sits in front of his tiny clothing store and tells about the good times before the war. "My shop was larger and I sold more products. It went well and I made a living. I sold between $130 to $200 per day."

Having returned to Nahr al-Bared after the war, Awed started to sell shoes, but went bankrupt. He sold his wife's jewelry and opened his new store, which barely makes $30 a day. "I can't live on it. The rent is $100 per month. I buy cigarettes and coffee and my income is gone," Awed explains...

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