11 August 2006

Humanitarian Factsheet on Lebanon

NEW YORK, 10 August (UN Headquarters) -- The following has been prepared by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA):

Humanitarian Priorities

-- Addressing the fact that no humanitarian convoys have been able to be sent south of the Litani River during the last four days, Jan Egeland, United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator, said: "We have not had any access for several days to the besieged population of southern Lebanon," adding: "It is a disgrace really, because the parties to the conflict, the Hizbollah and the Israelis, could give us access in a heartbeat, and then we could help 120,000 people in southern Lebanon."

-- According to the Lebanese Higher Relief Council (HRC), 1,032 Lebanese have been killed and 3,580 wounded.

-- The Government of Israel reports that 41 Israeli civilians have been killed.


-- Overall, displacement figures remain essentially static, with HRC reporting that 960,000 people have been displaced in Lebanon, 700,000 of them within the country.

-- The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that new arrivals of Lebanese in Syria have decreased to 1,500 per day (10,000 per week), but that, increasingly, people are arriving in worse shape.  Approximately 70 per cent of those arriving in the last few days were women and children.


-- The destruction of 70 bridges throughout Lebanon and the denial of concurrence for aid convoys are crippling the humanitarian community's aid efforts in Lebanon.

-- Of the three convoys scheduled to leave and/or arrive in Beirut this morning carrying humanitarian supplies, all have received concurrence, although the convoy scheduled to travel to Nabatiye received concurrence only to Saida (Sidon).  The other two went from Beirut to Tripoli and from Beirut to Baalbek.

-- Zlatan Milisic, World Food Programme (WFP) Emergency Coordinator in Lebanon, said: "We are all the more worried, because we have been given to understand that there is no point in WFP even applying for concurrence to go to Tyre, one of the areas of highest concern."

-- There has been no change in the Israel Defense Forces denial of concurrence for repairs to bridges and/or roads across the Litani River.

-- However, WFP has succeeded in bringing some aid to Beirut by air:  a Portuguese Air Force C-130 flew four rotations from the United Nations Humanitarian Depot in Brindisi, to Beirut last weekend and a French military C-160 has also begun flights from Cyprus to Beirut on behalf of WFP.

-- Two ships carrying food -- including high-energy biscuits, wheat flour, pasta and pulses -- and other supplies are expected to arrive in Beirut over the weekend.

-- There has been no improvement in the fuel situation in Lebanon.

Humanitarian Activities

-- An immunization drive started today in Beirut schools and parks to protect nearly 65,000 internally displaced children against measles, polio and other diseases.

-- A UNHCR convoy carrying more than 62 metric tons of urgently needed blankets, mattresses, kitchen sets and tents, arrived in Beirut on Wednesday -- the first convoy to arrive since the bombing of the main humanitarian access route from Aarida to Beirut last week.

-- The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is warning of a possible major food crisis due to the massive population displacements and disruption of the food supply chain.

Lebanon Flash Appeal

-- To date, just some $53.6 million has been committed to the $154 million flash appeal for Lebanon, or 34 per cent of requirements; an additional $27.9 million in pledges have also been recorded.

-- Additionally, OCHA has verbal confirmations from WFP of a pledge of

$2 million from Saudi Arabia, and from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) of pledges of $1 million from Saudi Arabia and $500,000 from Qatar.

For further information, please call Stephanie Bunker, OCHA-New York, +1 917 367 5126, mobile +1 917 892 1679; Kristen Knutson, OCHA-New York, +1 917 367 9262; Elisabeth Byrs, OCHA-Geneva, +41 22 917 2653, mobile, +41 79 473 4570.  OCHA press releases are available at http://ochaonline.un.org  or www.reliefweb.int .

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