Bekaa, eastern Lebanon. Lebanese citizens who have returned to their country after fleeing the conflict in Syria / CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / H. Baydoun
The ICRC has been present in Lebanon since 1967 and, together with the Lebanese Red Cross, its primary humanitarian partner, has carried out its humanitarian work throughout the civil war and various outbursts of conflict and violence that continue to this day. Its current operation is growing rapidly as a result of increased needs of Lebanese hosting communities and people fleeing conflict and violence in the region. The ICRC delivers a range of integrated humanitarian activities, including access to water and sanitation, relief and cash assistance programmes and health-care services.
One of the most urgent and pressing issues that the delegation is currently working on is the fate of missing persons from the Lebanese civil war. To address this humanitarian issue, the ICRC is working closely with the Lebanese authorities and associations of families of missing persons.
In addition, the ICRC, through face-to-face discussions and training sessions, promotes the compliance of arms carriers with international humanitarian law (IHL) across Lebanon. The ICRC also visits detainees, offers services that help separated families keep in touch through Red Cross messages containing family news, and 'Salamaat' (brief 'safe and well' messages transmitted orally) – notably providing this service to foreign detainees and refugees. The ICRC also maintains a close interaction with the Lebanese Red Cross and values its vital partnership for the implementation of its programmes across Lebanon.
How did the ICRC help people affected by conflict in Lebanon during 2014?
Water and infrastructure
- completed 16 projects that ensured better access to water and improved living conditions in settlements, covering a total population of over 380,000, including host communities;
- cooperated with the Lebanese Red Cross on water, sanitation and hygiene projects that improved living conditions in informal settlements in northern Lebanon and the Bekaa region.
- The ICRC conducted 489 interviews as part of efforts to clarify the fate of people still missing from the Lebanese civil war. This information will be compared with that obtained from human remains. The 2014 interviews brought to over 1,700 the number conducted since the data collection project started in 2012.
- Several public campaigns took place in support of families' right to know what has happened to their missing relatives and to encourage the creation of appropriate legal frameworks and a national independent commission on missing persons.
A mother whose three sons went missing in the Lebanese civil war holds up photographs of them during a ceremony during which the ICRC received investigation reports from the Committee of the Families of Kidnapped and Disappeared and SOLIDE (Support of Lebanese in Detention & Exile). / CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / M. Tahtah
- The ICRC visited some 6,500 detainees in 29 places of detention.
- 6,200 detainees received supplies such as mattresses, clothes, blankets, hygiene kits and cleaning materials.
- Detainees were able to be in touch with their relatives in Lebanon or abroad through ICRC's Red Cross Messages service and over 1000 short oral messages or salamats relayed by ICRC delegates
- donated medical supplies that made it possible to treat over 6,200 patients, of whom at least 1,400 had suffered weapon wounds;
- ICRC assitance contributed to 140,000 outpatient consultations in Arsal, a town on the border with Syria;
- provided surgical care and rehabilitation services to over 80 weapon-wounded patients at our Weapon Traumatology Training Centre (WTTC) in Tripoli;
- provided funding to enable the treatment of more than 350 critically wounded Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian patients in Lebanese hospitals;
- provided crutches, wheelchairs and other mobility aids for 100 patients;
- conducted first-aid training for 60 members of the Lebanese armed forces, 200 Palestinian weapon-bearers and 30 Syrian civilians, and provided them with basic medical kits and equipment;
- supplied three primary health-care centres with drugs, medical consumables and equipment, and trained their staff, benefiting more than 100,000 patients;
- trained 38 surgeons in emergency room trauma care, of whom 16 were from Arsal and 22 from Nabatieh in southern Lebanon;
- donated medical equipment and two generators to the Islamic Health Services in southern Lebanon;
- provided financial assistance that made it possible to fully equip an operating theatre at a hospital in Nabatieh.
Weapon Traumatolgy Training Centre, Tripoli. Six-year-old Hiba holds her mother's hand as she recovers from surgery. She was injured in Homs, Syria. / CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / M. Tahtah
- worked with the Lebanese Red Cross to provide food for over 14,500 people (Lebanese host families, internally displaced persons and other people fleeing conflict such as Palestinians, Iraqis and Syrians), while 9,900 people received such essential household items as tarpaulins, hygiene supplies, blankets, mattresses, kitchen sets and jerrycans;
- responded to flooding in Tripoli by providing mattresses, blankets and hygiene kits for 1,700 Palestinians living in Nahr El Bared camp;
- provided one hot meal a day for 350 people.
Cash assistance and support for income-generating activities
- provided cash assistance for over 14,200 Syrians and Palestinians who had fled the conflict in Syria, to cover their needs for five months over the winter;
- set up a six-month cash assistance programme for 950 Lebanese returnees;
- enrolled 150 heads of households living in parts of Tripoli affected by urban violence in a cash-for-work programme, ensuring that they have an income for five months;
- worked through women's cooperatives to provide financial support to 45 vulnerable female heads of household living in the North Bekaa region, allowing them to start generating an income for their families.
Men from Jabal Mohsen and Bab El-Tebbeneh take part in the ICRC's cash-for-work programme in Tripoli, north Lebanon. / CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / L. Selvinelli