Days of Palestine – Beirut
The Rashidieh refugee camp is the second most populous Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, located on the Mediterranean coast about five kilometers south of the city of Tire (Sur).
As of 2017, the camp accommodates 8,641 Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, 560 Palestinians displaced from Syria, 329 Syrians, with a total of nearly 10,000 refugees.
The Palestinian refugee Umm Abdel Qader, 70, told the PIC she has been living in Rashidieh camp since her birth after her family was displaced from their homeland in Acre.
“In Rashidieh, we live amid very difficult conditions, just like the rest of the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon,” she said.
“One day we will leave Rashidiya and return to Acre,” she added.
For his part, the Palestinian refugee Abu Ibrahim, 45, who lives near the seashore, told the PIC that his house was destroyed due to the high tides, calling for the establishment of a sea dam to protect local homes from drowning each winter.
Rashidieh was heavily affected during the Lebanese civil war, especially in 1982.
According to UNRWA, more than 600 shelters were totally or partially destroyed and more than 5,000 Palestine refugees were displaced. Remaining shelters need serious rehabilitation.
Today, 475,075 Palestinian refugees reside in Lebanon and constitute nearly a tenth of the country’s population, suffering appalling social and economic conditions.
The Palestinian refugee Abu Ali, a father of three children, said that his family is suffering very difficult living conditions after he lost his job during the COVID-19 outbreak and the severe economic crisis that hit the country.
Hajja Um al-Abed, 70, also said she became unable to even buy her medication despite her poor health situation.
“Our lives have become very difficult in Lebanon, and we can no longer bear this suffering,” she underlined.
For his part, former political official of the Hamas Movement in Lebanon, Nizar Al-Hussein pointed out that the camp was subjected to a severe siege by the Lebanese authorities in 1997, denying entry of construction materials.
The refugee camp suffers from several problems, most notably: the high electricity fees, the lack of medical staff in the camp’s hospital, and high unemployment rate, he added in a statement to the PIC.
He underlined that his Movement was constantly helping the camp refugees through various relief programs, noting that the unemployment rate in the camp had reached 70%.