Lebanon: ICRC activities, August-October 2008
24-11-2008 Operational Update
The ICRC delegation in Lebanon has continued its regular activities, which have included aiding people affected by conflict, working with the Lebanese Red Cross, protection, and promoting international humanitarian law. Visits to various places of detention continued as scheduled, while seven water projects were completed in the Bekaa area, thus improving access for residents of that parched area.
The ICRC carried out 34 visits to 14 prisons in various parts of Lebanon. This exclusive ICRC activity is in line with both its international humanitarian mandate and its 2007 agreement with the Lebanese authorities. Delegates monitored conditions of detention and treatment. As part of this work, they distributed bed sheets to detainees in Roumieh central prison who received no visits or help from their families. The ICRC also furnished hygiene items for inmates in Zahleh prison and women detained at Tripoli prison.
In addition, the organization continued helping detainees maintain contact with their families, by forwarding 33 Red Cross messages (brief personal messages to family members made otherwise inaccessible by armed conflict) and passing on 113 verbal messages. The ICRC also offered logistics support for the repatriation from Israel of eight Lebanese citizens and the body of another.
The ICRC continued to provide training, teaching material and equipment for five hospitals run by the Lebanon Branch of the Palestine Red Crescent Society. The training was for surgical staff and doctors working in emergency rooms. The ICRC also repaired and upgraded Balsam Hospital in Rachidiyeh camp, which was experiencing flooding, sewage and electricity problems.
Two workshops were held for hospital medical staff on sterilizati on and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation. The ICRC also furnished Palestine Red Crescent hospitals with computers, medical books, linen, blankets and uniforms.
In addition, the organization provided three clinics, two hospitals and an ambulance service run by a local NGO with surgical kits, medicines and dressing material.
Major work was carried out in the Bekaa area, where the ICRC completed seven water projects that will benefit over 30,000 people. The projects consisted mainly of replacing pumps while generally upgrading pumping stations.
These projects were carried out at the urgent request of the Bekaa water board. They included redesigning wells and providing adequate pumps (in the villages of Shaat, Ain el Tineh and Maydoun) and doing repair work on a storage tank in the village of Talia, east of Baalbek.
Cooperation with the Lebanese Red Cross is a key activity. In this three-month period the ICRC helped the Society purchase an apartment that will house its emergency medical services in the Halba area of northern Lebanon. The previous location was severely damaged during the fighting last May, forcing volunteers to work for a while out of two rooms belonging to the local municipality. The ICRC organized assessment training for about 70 young volunteers from the north of the country and the Mount Lebanon area, as well as computer training for 30 staff. With ICRC support, the Lebanese Red Cross purchased a vehicle for the Beiteddine blood bank, which will enable it to hold blood-collection drives in the villages of the Shouf area. Meanwhile, work has started to rebuild two medical aid stations, one located at the Society’ s headquarters in Beirut, and another in Falougha village in the Mount Lebanon area. The two projects are part of a five-year ICRC project to provide the Society with improved emergency medical posts.
As part of its work to promote international humanitarian law, especially among people who influence the fate of victims of armed conflict, the ICRC continued talking to personnel of the Lebanese army and internal security forces. An estimated 700 soldiers and officers and some 180 security force members attended presentations on the ICRC’s mandate, identity and work, Six similar sessions were organized for the UN Interim Force in Lebanon. They were attended by 70 officers, including members of the Chinese battalion.