Ein ElHilweh has been the scene of a large number of violent clashes and attacks over the decades. (Photo: AP)
Armed violence continues in the Ein El Hilweh Palestine Refugee camp in southern Lebanon for more than two days impacting civilians, including children, warned the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
UNRWA said that families are fleeing for safety. According to reports, 11 were killed and another 40 were injured, including one UNRWA staff member. Two UNRWA schools have sustained damage. More than 2,000 people were forced to flee in search of safety.
In response to the urgent needs for shelter, UNRWA, with volunteers opened its schools to accommodate displaced families and is providing basic humanitarian assistance. All UNRWA services in the camp have been temporarily suspended due to the violence.
UNRWA called on all parties to immediately return to calm and take all measures necessary to protect civilians, including children. It urged all armed actors to respect all UNRWA premises and facilities in accordance with international law.
UNRWA provides services to nearly 50,000 Palestine Refugees in the Ein El Hilweh Camp
Like many other Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and neighbouring countries, Ein el-Hilweh was established in the aftermath of the 1948 Nakba, which means “catastrophe”.
The Nakba was the expulsion of at least 750,000 Palestinians from their homes, villages and towns by Zionist militias during the establishment of the Israeli state.
Ein el-Hilweh was originally established by the International Committee of the Red Cross, and most of its early inhabitants had been displaced from northern Palestinian coastal towns.
The refugee population in Ein el-Hilweh continued to grow after 2011 when Syria’s civil war broke out after Bashar al-Assad cracked down on anti-government protests. Millions of people were displaced, including Palestinian refugees who were residing in Syria. Many sought safety in Lebanon and resettled in the camp.