Lebanon, UN continues relief effort
Amid ongoing fighting in Lebanon, UN continues relief effort
As fighting raged today in Lebanon, the United Nations continued its efforts to help the beleaguered people of the country, where the Government estimates that one fourth of the population has been uprooted.
Meanwhile in New York, the Security Council held closed-door consultations on a draft resolution on the situation, though no formal action was taken.
According to the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), high intensity exchanges of fire continued in the south. Hizbollah fired rockets from various locations “in large numbers” while the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) continued “intensive shelling and aerial bombardment across the south.”
There were three incidents of firing close to UNIFIL positions from the Israeli side in the general area of Hula (2) and At Tiri. There was one incident of Hizbollah firing rockets from the vicinity of the UN position in the general area of Tibnin. UNIFIL strongly protested all these incidents to the Israeli and Lebanese authorities respectively.
Blue helmets serving with UNFIL evacuated 25 internally displaced people (IDPs), including six US citizens, from the UN position in Tibnin to Tyre yesterday. Two wounded Lebanese civilians, including an 88-year old woman, were relocated from Al Qawzah village to UNIFIL hospital in Naqoura, and provided with initial medical treatment yesterday before being transferred by the Force to the Lebanese Army barracks in Tyre.
UNIFIL also distributed food donated by the French Government to civilians in Al Qawzah and Ramyah villages and provided water to the village of Ibil As Saqi, as well as medical assistance to the IDPs there.
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has distributed approximately three metric tones of food per day since 31 July to some 11,000 people in the Damascus area.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Aga Khan Development Network are setting up warehouses and offices in four locations – Damascus, Aleppo, Tartus, and Homs – which all UN system agencies can access.
Current stocks include plastic sheeting, jerry cans, kitchen sets, kerosene stoves mattresses and blankets, sheets and pillows, underwear for adults and children, diapers and personal hygiene products, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
At the request of the Lebanese Government, UNHCR and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation continue work on establishing two IDP camps in Beirut.
Meanwhile, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has provided the Lebanese Red Cross with 75 family water kits – enough for 750 families – as well as diapers and feminine hygiene supplies for distribution throughout Beirut. The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has provided 12,000 personal hygiene kits. More aid is in the pipeline.
Forty-eight of the 50 water tanks ordered locally by UNICEF for the Beirut area have been delivered, but experts estimate that at least 10 will be needed for new places opened in the past few days in Beirut.
In another development, the remains of the fourth UN Military Observer killed at Khiyam post during an Israeli bombardment last month were handed over to the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO). The bodies of the three others had already been recovered, but the fourth was only extricated yesterday. Israel is conducting an investigation into the incident, but Secretary-General Kofi Annan has indicated that he would have preferred a joint UN-Israeli probe.