Nahr al-Bared refugee camp

Uncertainty clouds Nahr al-Bared's future

One year has passed since the first Palestinians were allowed to return to the outskirts of the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, destroyed by the Lebanese army during three months of fighting in the summer of 2007 with Fatah al-Islam, a small Islamist militant group. Meanwhile, up to 15,000 people have resettled in the camp. Ray Smith reports on their situation from Nahr al-Bared. 

"It felt like a kind of resistance to celebrate"

Ahmed and Liliane Hassan, who are 25 and 17, were supposed to marry in August, but instead were driven from their homes in Nahr al-Bared camp, along with up to 40,000 other people, by 106 days of fighting between the Lebanese army and militant group Fatah al-Islam. They were among several thousand Palestinians allowed to return from 10 October, and soon after tied the knot. Ahmed explained: “When we celebrated our engagement during the 2006 July War, the Israelis bombed Abdeh, on the edge of Nahr al-Bared and we ended up in the shelters. Then the fighting delayed our wedding.” 

"Everything they couldn't take they destroyed"

“Don’t ask what they stole, ask what they left,” dryly jokes Khaled, a Palestinian refugee from Nahr al-Bared camp in northern Lebanon. It was evident from what remained of the crown molding along the ceiling that his three-story house was once grand. Now, only one year after the seven-year process of building the house was completed, the structure is largely destroyed and its contents looted. Maureen Clare Murphy reports from the devastated Nahr al-Bared refugee camp.