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Lebanon: UN Emergency Aid Distributed In The Tyre

Lebanon: UN Emergency Aid Distributed In The Tyre; Fuel Supplied To Hospitals

New York, Aug 15 2006 6:00PM

United Nations emergency aid is being distributed today to Lebanese in the devastated southern port city of Tyre, tonnes of fuel are being sent to hospitals to keep them operating, and two UN-chartered ships are off-loading supplies in the capital Beirut, a spokesman for the world body reported.

“Seven of the 24 trucks have already distributed food and water in Tyre and nearby villages, while 14 are proceeding to neighbouring villages today,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York.

“A World Health Organization (WHO) team is in southern Lebanon to evaluate damage caused to sanitation infrastructure. WHO also reports that, together with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), it has transported 60 tonnes of fuel to South Lebanon for 18 hospitals to cover their operational needs for the next 10 days.”

In response to the threat of unexploded ordnance and landmines, UNICEF has launched an information campaign to raise awareness of this danger, he said, adding that a de-mining team from the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) has conducted 36 controlled explosions of unexploded ordinance.

Thousands of displaced Lebanese both within Lebanon and from Syria are streaming back to their homes since the UN-brokered cessation of hostilities started on Monday, with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) saying today that nearly 22,000 had crossed the border, adding to the 16,000 that returned yesterday.

Teams from the refugee agency are monitoring the returns from Syria, handing out emergency supplies, and helping with transportation as well as identifying vulnerable cases that require additional help.

“The Government of Syria has asked for UNHCR assistance with the transportation, which could be needed by many of the 180,000 Lebanese who fled to Syria” UNHCR spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis told reporters. “Inside Lebanon, UNHCR teams have set up at major points on the return routes and are distributing assistance such as plastic sheeting, mattresses, water and other supplies.”

She also said that UNHCR expected a considerable number of displaced people both in Syria and Lebanon to need continuing assistance until they are able to go home as their villages may be hard to reach because of the bomb damage or unexploded ordnance.

Ms. Pagonis said the agency is prepared to assist up to 50,000 Lebanese who may delay their return from Syria and also added that arrival of UNHCR aid for internally displaced Lebanese is accelerating, with one C-130 aircraft landing in Beirut today and more being planned.

ENDS


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