15 August 2006

Humanitarian Factsheet on Lebanon

NEW YORK, 14 August (UN Headquarters) -- The following has been prepared by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA):

Political Developments

-- On 11 August, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1701, calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities in Lebanon and the strengthening of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to support the Lebanese Army's deployment throughout southern Lebanon.

-- Following the Lebanese and Israeli Governments review of the resolution, the ceasefire entered into effect at 0800 local time (0500 GMT).  The ceasefire appears to be generally holding.

Humanitarian Impact

-- The 24 hours preceding the cessation of hostilities were marked by fierce fighting in eastern and southern Lebanon, with rocket attacks and air strikes continuing up until 15 minutes before the deadline.

-- According to the Lebanese Higher Relief Council (HRC), 1,109 Lebanese have been killed and 3,697 wounded since the beginning of the conflict.

-- The Government of Israel reports that 43 Israeli civilians have been killed.

-- More than 970,000 Lebanese have been displaced.  However, those displaced have already begun to return to southern Lebanon, including to Tyre and surrounding areas, which had been inaccessible in the past few weeks.

-- Israel Defense Forces air strikes over the weekend left the cities of Saida (Sidon) and Tyre without electricity.

-- A United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) staff member was killed this morning following an air strike on the Ein el-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp near Saida (Sidon).  Other air strikes against Palestinian refugee camps targeted the Burj Shemali camp near Tyre and the Ein el-Hilweh camp, as well as the village of Al-Ma'shouk, where Palestinian refugees live.

-- Lebanon's Minister of Environment warns of toxic fumes and contaminated seafood caused by the fires and oil spill from the Jiyyeh power plant.  The clean-up cost for the oil spill is approximately $150 million, and repairs could take up to a year.

Humanitarian Activities

-- Within minutes of the cessation of hostilities, the United Nations dispatched two humanitarian convoys -- totalling 24 trucks carrying food, medical supplies, water and sanitary goods -- to Tyre.

-- In total, nine convoys have been dispatched today, with the other seven heading for destinations including Hasbaya in the south-east, Saida (Sidon) and Tripoli.  In addition to emergency supplies, key security and road assessments will be made.

-- Over the weekend, World Food Programme (WFP) chartered ships brought in 2,750 metric tons of wheat flour, pasta and lentils to Beirut.  A second ship carrying 100 metric tons of diesel for humanitarian operations, including supplies for Lebanese hospitals, also arrived.

-- Three crossings over the Litani River are now functioning.  UNIFIL and local authorities began repairs to bridges over the Litani River and surrounding roads shortly after the cessation of hostilities.

-- The United Nations is moving quickly to set up and/or strengthen humanitarian hubs in key locations in Lebanon, including in the ports of Tyre, Saida (Sidon) and Tripoli, as well as in the eastern town of Zahle in the Bekaa Valley.

Unexploded Ordnance

-- A nationwide awareness-raising campaign concerning the serious threat posed by unexploded ordnance is being launched.  The National Steering Committee on Mine Risk Education and United Nations agencies yesterday issued an urgent appeal concerning the dangers posed by unexploded ordnance to civilians.  Hizbollah has also distributed flyers warning returning residents not to touch any suspicious objects.

Lebanon Flash Appeal

-- To date, just over $79 million has been committed to the $165 million flash appeal for Lebanon, or 48 per cent of requirements; an additional $10.2 million in pledges have also been recorded.

Occupied Palestinian Territory

-- Three Palestinian civilians were killed today and three injured by an Israeli air strike, following the firing of a homemade rocket towards the Israeli city of Ashkelon.

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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