Lebanon Insecurity: Food Agency Cancels Aid Convoy
Lebanon: UN Food Agency Cancels Planned Aid Convoy to South Because of Insecurity
New York, Jul 31 2006 3:00PM
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), which is coordinating UN and other humanitarian aid in war-ravaged Lebanon, has been forced to cancel a planned convoy to the southern Lebanese town of Marjayoun, after the Israeli Defence Forces declined to give their agreement to the shipment, the agency said.
“We are extremely disappointed and indeed frustrated that we have been unable to go ahead with this convoy. There are tens of thousands of people in the south who are in desperate need of assistance,” said Amer Daoudi, WFP Emergency Coordinator for Lebanon.
“Obviously, this is a setback, but it will not deter us from pressing ahead with further convoys or from trying to reach people in the worst affected areas.”
The decision was in accordance with established security procedures in Lebanon, under which WFP requires concurrence from all parties involved in the conflict for humanitarian aid convoy movements. This is the first time that such concurrence has not been forthcoming, it said in a news release issued yesterday.
The six-truck convoy to Marjayoun was loaded with a variety of relief supplies, including medicines from the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the World Health Organization (WHO), WFP, Mercy Corps and Norwegian People’s Aid.
Had it got through, it would have been the fourth UN aid convoy dispatched to the south by WFP since last Wednesday. From today, the agency is planning to send at least two convoys a day to the south, which has borne the brunt of the bombardment since hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah fighters erupted two weeks ago, forcing around 800,000 people across Lebanon to flee their homes.
Last Friday the UN’s top aid official, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland, made an urgent appeal for a “humanitarian truce” lasting at least three days between Israel and Hezbollah to allow children, the wounded and the elderly to escape the fighting and food, medicine and other emergency supplies to get through to the conflict zones.