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Lebanon: Vital UN refugee health centre reopens

Services at the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)’s Health Centre II were suspended last week following clashes between Palestinian armed groups at the Ein El Hilweh camp, the largest Palestine refugee camp in Lebanon.

At least 13 people were killed, more than 60 injured, and thousands displaced in four days of deadly violence, which broke out on 30 July. The camp also housed about 360 UNRWA staff, some of whom were trapped and one injured by the fighting.

Hope for continued calm

Dorothee Klaus, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon, visited the camp on Wednesday, and expressed hope that the situation remains calm.

“I heard today of families unable to leave houses for days under fire and injured upon escape, children crying of fear and women’s hair turning white,” she said, adding that UNRWA will consecutively support clearance of rubble and reinstatement of damaged water networks and electricity lines.

“A secure environment is necessary for UNRWA to operate. We are collaborating with partners to prepare clearance of affected camp sites once possible, to ensure the safety of the community and UNRWA staff from remnants of the war,” she said.

Health centres at the Ein El Hilweh camp

Ein El Hilweh camp, one of 12 refugee camps in Lebanon, was established in 1948. It is located south of Saida in southern Lebanon.

The camp hosts two health centres providing services to an average of 575 patients daily.  

Its services include primary healthcare, general curative care, specialized consultations, prevention and control of communicable and non-communicable diseases, pharmacy, dental, and laboratory testing.  

It also provides refugees with mental health support, and runs maternal, child and school health programmes.

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