Lebanon – ICRC Bulletin No. 02 / 2007
27-05-2007 Operational Update
Latest report on ICRC activities in the field
The plight of civilians inside the Nahr el-Bared camp in northern Lebanon remains a source of great concern for the ICRC. The fragile truce in the camp held on Saturday and Sunday, though tensions ran very high. There was reportedly heavy gunfire on Friday night and some sporadic shooting early on Saturday morning.
There is still a steady trickle of refugees abandoning the camp on foot. While figures are difficult to confirm, it is probable that about half of Nahr el-Bared residents are still inside the camp.
During the first days of the fighting, houses and especially infrastructure within the camp sustained heavy damage. All electricity facilities inside the camp and four water tanks were reportedly hit, plunging it into total darkness and creating a serious water shortage.The ICRC remains deeply concerned about the safety of the civilians inside the besieged camp and reiterates its appeal for safe access in order to provide urgent medical and other humanitarian aid for the residents.
Fresh aid delivery to Nahr el-Bared and Beddawi camps
The ICRC is today delivering 14 tonnes of food, 20,000 litres of bottled water and three tonnes of bread to civilians in Nahr el-Bared through the Palestine Red Crescent Society.
With the help of the Palestine Red Crescent, 22,000 litres of water, two tonnes of bread and 4,000 candles were delivered to Nahr el-Bared on 26 May. At Beddawi camp, meanwhile, L ebanese Red Cross youth volunteers delivered 30 tonnes of food for displaced people, bringing to 70 tonnes the total for ICRC aid provided to Bedawwi.Food and hygiene kits were distributed to 50 families from Nahr el-Bared staying with private residents in Akkar.
In Bedawwi camp, refugees lament their renewed displacement
In Beddawi camp, ICRC delegates spent a great deal of time speaking to the refugees displaced from Nahr el-Bared, gathering information about how they had managed to leave and how they were coping with their current situation. The older among them fled Palestine in 1948 and lamented the fact that they had now been displaced to yet another refugee camp. “They have lost their belongings and seen their homes in Nahr el Bared destroyed, " said Virginia de la Guardia, an ICRC delegate. " Their present plight adds a further harsh chapter to the story of Palestinian refugees over the past 60 years.”
Aid for displaced people in the Bekaa Valley and southern Lebanon
Some refugees from Nahr el-Bared are now staying in other Palestinian camps such as Rachidiyed and El Bass near Tyre, El Jalil in Baalbek, and El Miyeh Miyeh and Ain el Helwe near Sidon.
The ICRC delivered food parcels and hygiene kits to 17 families in El Qaraoun and El Marje, in the Bekaa Valley. A further 46 families who have arrived in the area were visited and will receive aid early next week.
On Friday, food parcels and hygiene kits were distributed to 31 families from Nahr el Bared who had fled to El Jalil refugee camp in Baalbek and to the villages of Bar Elias and Daly Day.
Distributions were carried out to 27 families in El Bass camp near Tyre, to four families in El Miyeh Miyeh camp near Sidon, and to 39 families living in Sidon town. A significant number of families remained unassisted. Their needs will be assessed and followed up with the Sidon office of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNWRA).On Thursday the ICRC distributed food parcels and hygiene kits to 18 displaced Nahr el Bared families who had fled to Rachidiyeh refugee camp near Tyre, and to 30 families in Ain el Helwe camp for Palestinian refugees near Sidon.
While delivering bottled water is currently the only viable option for Nahr el-Bared camp, ICRC engineers are preparing for the next phase by prepositioning bladder tanks, a generator and other water and sanitation items in Tripoli. These will be used as soon as security conditions inside the camp improve.Meanwhile, the ICRC transported medical aid (2,000 bags of blood, 10 water mattresses, supplies of bandages, etc.) donated by the Swiss Development and Cooperation Agency to Safad Hospital, run by the Palestine Red Crescent Society in Tripoli.
The ICRC is closely coordinating its activities with the Lebanese Red Cross and the Palestine Red Crescent Society, as well as with its other partners in the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
The ICRC and its Movement partners work in close cooperation with UNWRA and other UN agencies.For further information, please contact:
Vincent Lusser, ICRC Geneva, tel : +41 22 730 24 26 or +41 79 217 32 64
Virginia de la Guardia, ICRC Beirut, tel : +961 1 739 297/8/9 or +961 70 12 98 69