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Rebuilding Lebanon

For 34 days from the end of July to August, fighting between the Israeli Defense Force and the Hezbollah political group visited an enormous amount of destruction to the infrastructure and homes of southern Lebanon, Beirut and parts of the Bekaa Valley. One estimate done by the Syndicate of Engineers in Southern Lebanon places the damage done to homes alone at over $2 Billion. Habitat for Humanity Lebanon (HFHL) has since embarked on an ambitious project in the hopes of serving as many as 1500 families across Lebanon as the people begin the long process of reconstruction.

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The first phase of this project will focus on three villages in the southern most part of the country – Yarroun, Aalma Ech Shaab, and Baraachit. The damage done to individual homes varies widely, ranging from total destruction to relatively minimal damage. Additionally, an HFH assessment team identified a very strong construction industry in the region that had begun preparations for reconstruction as early as one month after the fighting had stopped. Taking advantage of this capacity and seeking to help inject capital into the disrupted local economy, HFH Lebanon will provide small grants of up to $4,000 to affected families that will cover the cost of repairing their homes. In the initial stages, HFHL will not focus on the totally destroyed homes, rather, those homes that require repairs alone to be made livable again.

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A significant part of HFHL’s traditional work has always been partnership with local communities and organizations in order to bridge the gap between historically polarized sectarian groups in the country. Similarly, HFHL’s intervention in the coming months will seek to leverage such relationships in enacting the traditional Lebanese spirit of “aouni” or community self-help. Already, HFHL has partnered with Joy of Giving in two villages in the south and has established a framework for working with The Center for Dialogue and Development in the three afore mentioned villages once funding has been made available.