Fri 30 Oct 2020

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Delegation from “UNRWA” visits Yarmouk camp to assess status of its facilities

Two citizens walking through the rubble of the Yarmouk camp - 2018 (The Yarmouk Camp News)

Two citizens walking through the rubble of the Yarmouk camp - 2018 (The Yarmouk Camp News)

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A delegation from the “United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)” visited the Yarmouk camp area to check on the UNRWA’s facilities and assess the damage caused by the bombing and clashes that took place in the camp in 2015.

The “Action Group for the Palestinians of Syria (AGPS)” said that a delegation from the agency visited the Yarmouk camp area on 16 September, to assess the status and the damages of the UNRWA’s facilities, including its schools.

The AGPS mentioned that the Syrian regime’s government informed the agency of its agreement on restoring its facilities and schools in the Yarmouk camp.

Palestinian lawyer, Nour Eddin Salman, who lives in Damascus, published on his “Facebook” page that the UNRWA’s visit was intended to check on its facilities, assess the camp’s status and verify the possibility of its residents return to begin the restoration process.

Salman also talked about the importance of reaching out to the camp’s residents, to prepare lists for the people wishing to return similar to what happened in the neighboring al-Tadamon neighborhood.

The UNRWA published a report on 1 December 2018, in which it announced that most of its facilities in Syria were partially or completely destroyed.

The report stated that 23 facilities, of which 16 schools in the Yarmouk camp, need major repairs, while 75 percent of these buildings need to be rebuilt completely.

The report also mentioned that “the three UNRWA health care centers in the Yarmouk camp are completely destroyed.”

This was preceded by the agency’s announcement in May of the same year that the Yarmouk camp was severely destroyed, making the return of its residents very difficult.

Back then, the UNRWA’s spokesman, Chris Gaines, said after visiting the camp that “today, the Yarmouk camp is in ruins, all the houses there are destroyed, even the public health system, electricity, and basic services have been greatly damaged.”

This comes within the continuation of the Yarmouk camp residents’ demands to return to their real properties and end their living and economic sufferings.

The Directorate of Organization and Urban Planning in Damascus confirmed that thousands of objections were received regarding the Yarmouk camp’s regulatory plan in the Syrian capital, Damascus.

According to what was published by the government newspaper, “al-Baath” on 14 September, the director of the Organization and Urban Planning Directorate of Damascus, Ibrahim Diab, said that “the Yarmouk camp’s regulatory map received about 2,800 objections.”

Diab said that the Yarmouk area is still under study and discussion with the relevant authorities, thus “contributing to the residents’ return to their houses.”

The Yarmouk camp experienced battles between the factions of the former “Free Syrian Army (FSA)” and the Syrian regime forces, amid the division of the Palestinian factions between the two sides before the so-called Islamic State (IS) took control of two-thirds of the camp in 2015.

However, in May 2018, after a month-long military operation, during which the IS group was expelled from the camp, the forces of the regime completely re-established control over al-Hajar al-Aswad and the Yarmouk camp, in the wake of an unofficial evacuation agreement that transferred the IS group’s members to the desert of As-Suwayda.

The military clashes destroyed more than 60 percent of the buildings and infrastructure in the Yarmouk camp, which was classified as the seventh most destroyed area in Syria, according to the “Syrian Cities Damage Atlas,” report issued by the “United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)” in cooperation with the REACH initiative.

 

 

 

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