Balata Refugee Camp is located within the Municipality of Nablus in the West Bank. A few days ago I posted an entry and photographs on Nablus. Today's entry will give you some insight on Balata. It is the largest of all of the Palestinian refugee camps within the West Bank with over 21,000 residents. It was established in 1950 in 252 dunums of land. It is overcrowded with unemployment running about 80%. The major problems in Balata is sewage, water, overcrowding and privacy. Buildings are situated so close together that in some areas the 'street's are no more than 2 1/2 feet in width. For those who live in the central areas of the camp seeing sunlight is far from a reality. Military aggression is high often during the night.
Despite the conditions there are several healthy organizations and activities that the Camp council have initiated such as a Youth Theatre, a Dabke dance troupe that has travelled internationally, children's art workshops, a Woman's Internet center, and a Committee for the Rehabilitation for the Disabled. We visited one of the schools that was holding summer camp and then walked in the camp. Vestiges of UNWRA, United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees