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Ceasefire Essential To Address Humanitarian Need

14 August 2006

Ceasefire Plans Welcomed And Essential To Address Humanitarian Need In Lebanon

The ceasefire agreement between Israel and Lebanon, planned to begin at 5pm New Zealand time today, is welcomed by Save the Children. The ceasefire is essential to ensure the safety of children who are bearing the brunt of this conflict.

"The work of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, UNIFIL, will be key to ensuring the humanitarian work needed to support displaced families and help them make a safe return to their homes. We look forward to the speedy arrival of this force in South Lebanon following the ceasefire," John Bowis, Executive Director of Save the Children New Zealand, said this afternoon.

"It is shocking that over 40 per cent of the more than 1000 killed have been children. More than one million adults and children have been displaced. The trauma they face will take some time to recover from. Children like Mohammed Ahmad abed-ElAal, for example have the right to be safe and protected from this conflict."

Mohammed Ahmad abed-ElAal explained how he felt to Save the Children workers in Lebanon recently: "When the bombing started I was scared to death – not just for myself but for my relatives and friends. I don’t know if they are still in Ma’achouk or they have left like us. Most of Tyre was under attack and I saw a number of dead and injured people. I saw the houses which had been destroyed with no consideration for the people inside. Do they feel guilty about the children? Why are they targeting children? I wish this damn war would finish. I miss my home, my things and playing with my friends as I used to do."

Save the Children is currently running an appeal to raise $5,000,000 to support children affected by the conflict. It has increased the timeframe for their response to 6 months in light of the amount of work needed to provide support for displaced families.

Save the Children is ready to implement a direct intervention response in Lebanon to ensure that around 50,000 people, including 19,000 children, from areas affected by armed conflict and displacement, have access to adequate nutrition, medical supplies and support, safe play areas and education. Its plans are:

- to distribute food, water and basic supplies to 20,000 people;
- to provide medical supplies and support for 5000 people affected by the conflict;
- to support 5000 children in safe play areas and psycho-social support; and
- to support access to formal and non-formal education and work with other protection measures.

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