The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visited a Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon on Friday, urging the international community to provide necessary funding to help finish the rebuilding of the camp destroyed in fierce battles against al Qaeda-inspired militants almost a decade ago.
Ban appealed during his visit to the Nahr el Bared camp where he inspected a school and was briefed on the ongoing reconstruction effort.
The reconstruction work is still not finished nearly a decade on and many residents are still waiting to return.
"Almost half the construction has been made but there are still so many people waiting to be returned," Ban said.
"I'm urging the international community to provide remaining funding of at least 200 million dollars so that these people can return," he added.
Ban inspected the Aamaq school at the camp, where he was hosted by Palestinian Ambassador to Lebanon Ashraf Dabbour and the Lebanese Minister of Social Affairs Rashid Derbas.
A UN official explained on a map the ongoing reconstruction as hundreds of Palestinians gathered, chanting in support of the UN efforts.
In 2007, the Lebanese army fought a three-month war against the al Qaeda-inspired Fatah group inside the camp. The army defeated the group but the clashes also killed more than 170 soldiers and caused massive destruction, displacing the residents of the camp.
Ban is on a two-day visit to Lebanon along with the World Bank Group president and chief of the Islamic Development Bank.
During his visit, Ban is expected to also visit a social centre for Syrian refugees in Tripoli and a refugee camp that houses people from neighbouring war-torn Syria in Bekaa Valley, less than a mile from Syrian border.
Lebanon, neighbouring Israel and Syria, is home to almost half a million Palestinian refugees.
With a population of 4.5 million people, Lebanon now also shelters more than 1 million registered Syrian refugees.