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Lebanon: ICRC activities September-October 2006

31-10-2006 Operational Update

More than two months after the ceasefire, the civilian population in Lebanon continues to bear the consequences of the recent hostilities. Mainly in the south of the country, but also in the southern suburbs of Beirut, the inadequate water supply is still affecting the daily lives of tens of thousands of people. Work to repair damaged water distribution networks continues apace.

   
  ©ICRC/J. Björgvinsson/lb-e-00526    
 
  Zebqine, southern Lebanon. Child helping to unload ICRC relief parcels from a truck.    
     
 
   
  ©ICRC/J. Björgvinsson/lb-e-00529    
 
  Zebqine. Lebanese girl amongst the ruins of a house.    
     
 
   
  ©ICRC/J. Björgvinsson/lb-e-00514    
 
  A water pipe being repaired in southern Lebanon.    
     
 
   
  ©ICRC/J. Björgvinsson/lb-e-00563    
 
  Beirut. Containers housing the Saudi Red Crescent field hospital.    
     
 
   
  ©ICRC/J. Björgvinsson/lb-e-00545    
 
  Unloading of ICRC ship "Georgios" in Tyre harbour in mid-September 2006.    
     
 
   
  ©ICRC/J. Björgvinsson/lb-e-00543    
 
  Helmets, vests and other equipment used by ambulance workers at the Lebanese Red Cross headquarters in Tyre.    
      

Many parts of southern Lebanon are heavily contaminated by explosive remnants of war, which pose a significant threat to the population and prevent many displaced civilians from returning to their homes. Cluster munitions scattered in farmland and fruit groves are a serious obstacle to farming in a region where agriculture is an important source of income.

 Economic security  

During the period under review, another 39,000 families, about 200,000 people (residents, host families, internally displaced persons – IDPs – and returnees) mainly in the south of the country, but also in the southern suburbs of Beirut and in Baalbek, have benefited from aid distributions. This assistance was designed to cover their most urgent needs in terms of food and essential household items. The following items were provided by the ICRC, and in some areas distributed with the support of the Lebanese Red Cross Society (LRCS):

  • over 35,000 family food parcels (containing lentils, oil, coffee, salt, sugar, tomato paste, etc.)

  • more than 117,000 ready-to-eat meals;

  • over 385,000 jars of baby food;

  • 70 metric tonnes of flour and 575 tonnes of rice;

  • 17,000 kitchen sets and 2,700 jerry cans;

  • over 50,000 blankets, 18,000 mats;

  • 26,000 hygiene parcels and 16,000 baby kits.

 Water and habitat  

ICRC water and habita t engineers actively continue to help restore water supplies for the population, mainly in the south of the country. They have:

  • provided 175,000   litres of fuel for the main water systems of south Lebanon;

  • provided and installed four chlorinators in two main water treatment plants of Nabatieh Caza;

  • due to the initially very poor electricity supply, the ICRC supplied and installed 15 generators (with capacities ranging from 27 to 900 KvA) to run main water treatment and pumping stations serving up to 200,000 beneficiaries in the south of the country;

  • installed a 700 KvA generator in Mechref water station allowing for better water supply for up to 100,000 beneficiaries in the southern suburbs of Beirut;

  • set up a mobile power-generating unit (300 KvA) which has been touring various small water stations in south Lebanon in order to pump water for three to five hours per day;

  • supplied and installed submersible pumping sets in four communities of the Bekaa valley, Akkar and Minieh;

  • finalized most rehabilitation works of the Tahibe water treatment plant and the Wazzani pumping stations in cooperation with the South Lebanon Water Authority. Rehabilitation of the Markaba pumping station is ongoing;

  • initiated the reconstruction/rehabilitation of four water storage reservoirs, ranging form 150m3 to 1000m3 capacity, in Aitaroun, Maroun El Ras, Markaba and Wazzani.

 Health  

    

The ICRC has been supporting medical/social centres, clinics and Lebanese Red Cross blood transfusion centres, as well as government and medical association hospitals and clinics, which have been treating the war wounded and IDPs during the conflict. The goal of this assistance is to help these health facilities replenish their stocks and replace medical material and drugs utilized during the war.

The ICRC has addressed the following needs:

  • medicine (drugs for the treatment of chronic diseases)

  • medical material (dressing and surgical material, gloves)

  • logistical support (generators)

  • water in sufficient quantity and quality

  • improvement of hygiene conditions

  • material for LCRS blood transfusion centres (renewable material and consumables)

 Logistics  

    

To enable the conduct of the Red Cross and Red Crescent operation in Lebanon:

  • six logistic bases have been activated: Amman, Larnaca, Mersin, Beirut, Tyre, Saïda (of which Mersin, Larnaca and Saïda have been closed in the meantime)

  • 59 chartered planes from Geneva to Larnaca have transported 2,436 metric tonnes of relief items;

  • three vessels chartered by the ICRC have transported 7,246 metric tonnes of relief supplies;

  • 14 ICRC international road convoys have forwarded 2,473 metric tonnes of relief items from Amman to Lebanon with the support of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent Society;

  • in total, 9,719 metric tonnes of relief supplies have already been transported to Lebanon;

  • ICRC road convoys have transported emergency supplies from Beirut to Tyre and Saïda, and to distribution sites such as Baalbeck, Jbeil and many southern villages.

 Humanitarian coordination  

    

Contacts between representatives of the Lebanese government and the ICRC on the emergency situation and ICRC operations have continued to foster close coordination with the High Relief Commission (government coordination body) and all other officials concerned, in particular the Ministries of Environment, Foreign Affairs, Health, Interior, Defence, Water and Energy, and Social Affairs. Numerous coordination meetings took place between the ICRC and international and national/local nongovernmental organizations active in the field.

 Protection of the civilian population  

    

ICRC delegates are collecting information regarding the conduct of hostilities between 12 July and 14 August 2006, and the humanitarian consequences for the civilian population affected. This information will be the basis for confidential representations to the parties to the conflict.

 ICRC activities in favour of detainees and their families  

The ICRC has actively engaged with all parties to the conflict, reminding them of their obligations under International Humanitarian Law to treat humanely those captured during the hostilities. It has repeatedly urged the parties to authorize visits by the ICRC to all those detained during the crisis, and to allow them to communicate with their families. The ICRC has also reiterated its readiness to act as a neutral intermediary for the repatriation of detainees.

    

 Red Cross messages (messages containing strictly family news) from detainees held in Israel have been transmitted by the ICRC to their families in Lebanon.  

 Cooperation with the Lebanese Red Cross Society  

    

With a view to further enhance its partnership with the LRCS, the ICRC continues to provide essential support to enable LRCS to improve its preparedness and response to emergencies, including:

  • ambulances, first aid kits, uniforms, masks, boots, vests, communication equipment, as well as power generators to allow the smooth running of emergency medical services;

  • centrifuges, medical supplies for the blood bank;

  • medicines, IT equipment for the Medico-Social department;

  • radio equipment for the Youth department.

The ICRC, along with the LRCS and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), continues to organize regular meetings of all Red Cross and Red Crescent societies present in Lebanon to facilitate the activities of the Movement in Lebanon and ensure support to the LRCS.