UN Welcomes Donor Pledges For Lebanon
UN Welcomes Donor Pledges For Lebanon’s Reconstruction As More Aid Gets Through
Welcoming pledges of $940 million for Lebanon’s reconstruction made at yesterday’s international donor conference in Sweden, the United Nations refugee agency said today it was continuing its efforts to reach the most vulnerable communities, as more UN aid got through to the devastated south of the country.
“This [money] will allow the start of rebuilding and the continued distribution of emergency assistance,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesperson Ron Redmond told reporters in Geneva.
“UNHCR teams are in the field daily, reaching out to the communities and in particular the most vulnerable, and helping with other problems that are becoming increasingly apparent.”
In particular, Mr. Redmond highlighted the problem of the masses of unexploded ordnance scattered over the countryside and in the shattered villages of the south, and he also emphasized the impact of the 34 day conflict on Lebanese children.
“The deaths and destruction of homes and infrastructure have left their mark on the people – in particular the children. A particularly serious problem is the widespread presence of unexploded ordnance, an ever-present danger that is disrupting a return to normality for thousands of people.”
As of yesterday, the UN Mine Action Coordination Centre (MACC), which is helping destroy this deadly ordnance, had identified over 400 individual cluster bomb strike locations, although this number may eventually rise to 500, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said. The UN estimates around 120,000 pieces of this ordnance lie scattered over large areas of the south.
OCHA also reported today that a World Food Programme (WFP)-chartered vessel had arrived in Lebanon with 10 vehicles and food, while two WFP trucks had left Beirut for southern villages carrying clean water supplied by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).