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New Zealand NGOs respond to war in Lebanon

New Zealand NGOs respond to war in Lebanon, Palestine and Israel

The intensifying war in the Middle East is having a devastating toll on civilians, and it is the most vulnerable who are bearing the heaviest burden. Escalating military action in Lebanon, Palestine and Israel is causing hundreds of civilian deaths, the majority women and children.

The fate of displaced survivors is also of concern, with an estimated one million refugees fleeing their homes in Lebanon alone. Reports say many have been forced to shelter in sub-standard conditions and may be suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, due to witnessing such incidents as the death of a loved one.

The following New Zealand based non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are running appeals to assist those affected by the crisis and fund humanitarian work implemented by partner organisations in the region and by their international parent bodies. New Zealanders can best assist by donating to the organisations listed below.

Details of these organisations operations follow. To donate to help the victims of the current conflict contact:

Christian World Service (CWS)
Phone: 0800 747 372
Website: www.cws.org.nz

UNICEF NZ
Phone: 0800 800 194
Website: http://www.unicef.org.nz/

Save the Children
Phone: 0800 167 168 or
Website: www.savethechildren.org.nz

World Vision
Phone: 0800 802 000
Website: http://www.worldvision.org.nz/donations/payamount.aspx?fid=99

Tear Fund
Phone: 0800 800 777 or to make an instant $20 donation call 0900 90 777
Website: www.tearfund.org.nz/donations/category.php?category_code=RELIEF

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand
Phone: 0800 221 022
Website: www.caritas.org.nz/donations.php


CID IS THE UMBRELLA ORGANISATION THAT REPRESENTS 83 NZ BASED AID AND DEVELOPMENT AGENCIES


COUNCIL for INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT ~ PO Box 24 228 Wellington Aotearoa New Zealand
Tel. 64 4 496 9615 ~ Fax. 64 4 496 9614 ~ Email. info@cid.org.nz ~ Web. www.cid.org.nz


Christian World Service (CWS)

Christian World Service (CWS), the development, justice and aid agency of New Zealand churches has launched an emergency appeal for relief efforts in Israel, Palestine and Lebanon and is calling for an end to the escalating violence in the region. Member churches, including Methodist, Anglican, and Presbyterian, are supporting the appeal.
CWS has supported the work of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) with Palestinian refugees for over 20 years. The MECC is currently providing food rations, milk for infants, mattresses and bedding, water, first aid kits and medicines, sanitation supplies, and kitchen supplies to people who have fled the violence.
Christian World Service joins international efforts calling for:

- An immediate end to the use of violence by all sides and to work towards developing non-violent strategies for dealing with events.
- The protection of human lives - Lebanese, Israeli and Palestinian - in accordance with international law.
- Humanitarian assistance to all those in need, including people living in the Gaza Strip
- All governments (including New Zealand) to demand an immediate ceasefire, to condemn the use of violence by all sides and put the utmost pressure on all parties to begin serious negotiations that address the root causes of the conflicts that dominate the region.

Donations:

Phone: 0800 74 73 72
Website: www.cws.org.nz

UNICEF New Zealand

UNICEF has launched an appeal for $NZ40 million to support children caught in the crisis in the region. The appeal is part of the overall UN flash appeal for $NZ 240 million.

UNICEF’s work includes; water and sanitation, health kits for clinics and hospitals, recreation kits to support children get back to play, trauma counseling, assessment of where IDP are congregating to enable better delivery of services, starting planning of how education can be maintained, child protection particularly in relation to separated and orphaned children.

Over the next three months, UNICEF and its partners in Lebanon and Syria will:
• Provide clean water and sanitation facilities in schools
• Provide emergency health kits with essential medicines for the displaced
• Monitor and support children who have experienced traumatic events
• Prevent the separation of children from their families and re-unite
• Provide recreation kits for distribution in 50 schools.

The UNICEF appeal includes urgent requirements for logistics, security equipment and regional support, given the difficult situation in the sub-region.

Donations:

Phone: 0800 800 194
Website: http://www.unicef.org.nz/

Save the Children

Children are bearing the brunt of the conflict in the Middle East. Their partners are reporting 45% of those killed in Lebanon are children. Of the 500,000 displaced some 200,000 are children under the age of 18. Save the Children are currently supporting at least 2000 families in the region and aims to reach over 20,000 people over the coming months.

Save the Children has worked in the Middle East since 1949, when health services were provided to Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Today they support a wide variety of programmes in Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Jordan and the occupied Palestinian territories.

Save the Children is already responding to the needs of children caught up in the fighting. In the south of Lebanon they are distributing blankets, nappies, food and other basic supplies to families affected by the conflict and working in schools in the southern part of the country which have been converted into temporary shelters for those fleeing the worst hit areas.

The ongoing conflict in Gaza continues to threaten the physical safety and well-being of civilians and the destruction of property and infrastructure has created widespread displacement and worsening health, hygiene and nutritional status of the population. Children are trapped in their homes without sufficient food, water, hygiene and access to medicine. The evolving crisis is putting hundreds of thousands of children at risk of serious injury, emotional distress, malnutrition and is preventing them from continuing their schooling.

Save the Children is providing packages of basic supplies to vulnerable families in Gaza. They are currently distributing household kits including food, hygiene materials and games for children to 450 families in the Al-Shoka area of southern Gaza.
We will expand these distributions over the coming months to between 1500 and 4000 families in Bet Hanoun and Bet Lahia in the north. We are also providing emergency education supplies for children to ensure that they receive some education support both in preparation for the coming school year and to sustain their psychological wellbeing.

World Vision

World Vision New Zealand is committing NZ$50,000 to the crisis in the Middle East and is launching an appeal to its supporters in an effort to raise $500,000 for its relief efforts in the stricken area.

“Our partnership is committed to raising over US$2million as its initial response, so we’re doing our bit to help with this crisis,” says World Vision NZ’s Marketing Director, Bruce Waldin.

“Our primary focus is on the Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in Lebanon – there are an estimated 700,000 in Lebanon,” says Mr Waldin.

World Vision Lebanon is working around the clock to provide relief supplies to IDPs in schools and other temporary centres in all areas of the country. Medical supplies, bread and bakery goods were delivered to World Vision’s projects in Beirut for distribution to IDPs now sheltering in public schools across the city.

World Vision, in both Lebanon and Jerusalem-West Bank-Gaza, is working to ensure the security of its staff as well as 26,000 sponsored children and their families in the region.
TEAR Fund
TEAR Fund has launched an emergency appeal to assist victims of the humanitarian disaster in Lebanon. Since hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah began, as many as 700,000 Lebanese civilians have fled their homes, creating an immense refugee crisis.

Working through Christian Lebanese partners, TEAR Fund is providing refugees with emergency shelter and essential support, including food, water, hygiene-kits and medical care.

TEAR Fund has grave concerns about the escalation of violence in the Middle East, and is calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities on both sides of this conflict, as well as an end to the collective punishment of civilians.

"The total destruction inflicted on neighborhoods and the terror experienced by innocent men, women and children is obscene and goes far beyond any measured sense of reprisal,” says TEAR Fund Executive Director Stephen Tollestrup.

“Our immediate relief effort is providing comfort, security and essential support for internally displaced Lebanese. We will remain in Lebanon to ensure the long term rehabilitation of devastated communities."

"The scale of destruction wrought by this conflict means the rebuilding could take years."


Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand has joined with its international partners in calling for all parties in the current Middle East conflict to respect their obligations under international law.

Under International Humanitarian Law, states and authorities must protect civilians caught up in conflict, allow humanitarian agencies free access to provide assistance to those affected, and ensure attacks are not aimed at civilian targets, but are directed solely at military targets.
“Yet with the civilian death toll increasing to over 270, there is clearly a lack of regard given to international obligations relating to the targeting of civilians,” says Mike Smith, Director of Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand.

“Israeli and Lebanese governments, and Hizbullah, must fulfil their obligations under International Humanitarian Law by actively distinguishing between the civilian population and combatants in order to protect civilian lives and property,” says Mike Smith.

Caritas believes that a just peace is possible in the Middle East, and urges the international community and political leaders to uphold international law and help the people of Israel, of Palestine and of Lebanon to step back from the brink of full-scale war.

ENDS

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