Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon threaten the lives of their residents

Mohammed Khaled-Beirut

"The roof fell on our heads while we were asleep," Palestinian refugee Omar Ghali sums up the suffering that he and his family are living in the Burj al-Barajneh refugee camp in Beirut, inside a house that is in danger of collapse.

On the first floor of the house, Hajja Um Ahmed and her children with special needs live in a house that is not fit for human life. The walls are cracked, the pillars are worn and the roof is worn, making the family at risk of collapsing.

"We have been suffering from this situation for a long time, the roof of the house has taken us to rest and tranquility. We are afraid to fall on us at any moment. I have two children with special needs, and I live all the time worrying about them."

"We do not know what to do, our financial situation is very difficult, we can not repair the house at our expense," she said.

Wasted walls on the upper floor of the home of the Gali family (Al Jazeera)

On the top floor, her son, Ahmed, is a father of three and suffers from physical problems he can not work because of. Shows a video on his mobile showing the magnitude of the disaster he is living with every rainfall, as his house turns into a quagmire.

"There are cracks in the ceiling and in the walls of the house. We put the pots inside the house in the winter so as not to turn into a pool of water."

"I and my children are threatened with death at any moment, and I have not received any assistance from UNRWA or from the organizations, although Agency officials came to the house and took pictures of them, and we did not receive any response from them. We see something on the ground. "

Refugees say that divine protection alone protects some families and saves them when the roofs of their houses or walls collapse, and they are not harmed by their absence from home or by being in another room.

Cracks in the roof of the house foreshadowing the collapse of (the island)

Where is UNRWA?
The Palestinian factions and the popular committees in the camp, in turn, demand that UNRWA speed up the repair of houses that fall, because postponement and procrastination in the implementation of the renovation may increase the number of houses that need to be repaired.

The secretary of the Popular Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Hosni Abu Taqa, says that the renovation of the houses in the camp is the responsibility of UNRWA and that it is its duty to alleviate the suffering of the camp residents. "UNRWA does not cooperate with us in the process of house counting and follow-up. The case under the pretext of the financial crisis and it works according to the assistance received from donor countries. "

UNRWA's financial crisis is not the only impediment to the renovation of refugee homes. There is also a law to ban property that prohibits Palestinian ownership outside the camps, or the introduction of building materials into camps in the south and the Burj al-Barajneh camp 22 years ago. They are living in decrepit homes, despite the danger they pose to their lives.

Efforts made
For his part, the head of the Lebanese-Palestinian dialogue committee, former minister Hassan Mneimneh, said that the Lebanese authorities' argument against preventing the entry of building materials is their fear of using them in other matters, but there are efforts being made with the Lebanese authorities to alleviate the Palestinians inside the camps and allow them to enter building materials.

Some 5,000 houses in Palestinian camps in Lebanon face the risk of collapse and collapse, according to the witness of Human Rights Watch, which calls on the Lebanese government to apply the principles of law and international law, treat the Palestinian refugees humanely, and lift the economic hardship and living conditions of the Palestinians in Lebanon Civil and humanitarian rights.