The refugee camp in Dbayeh was established in 1956 in order to accommodate refugees who had fled from the Galilee in northern Palestine. Located 12km east of Beirut, on a hill along the Beirut-Tripoli highway, it is surrounded by modern apartment buildings and exists quite literally in the shadow of one of Lebanon's most luxurious resort hotels. The surroundings accentuate the destitution and hopelessness of the camp in which time stands still.
Because of its strategic location, the camp suffered heavily during the civil war. In 1990, roughly a quarter of its shelters were destroyed or severely damaged, and many of the refugee families were displaced a second time. Meanwhile, Lebanese families displaced by the civil war found shelter in the camp. After the war, some two thirds of the camp residents were Palestinian and the remainder Lebanese.
With the civil war raging in neighboring Syria, Dbayeh has seen yet another wave of refugees. The camp and those who serve it are stretched to the limits, and the social, political, and human pressures on the refugees is only increasing.
Dbayeh is the only remaining Palestinian refugee camp in the eastern suburbs of Beirut, and the last predominantly Christian Palestinian refugee camp anywhere in the region.
DBAYEH CAMP IN BRIEF