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UN Chief Visits War-Ravaged Southern Lebanon

UN Agency Chief Visits War-Ravaged Southern Lebanon In Bid To Assess Relief Needs

New York, Sep 7 2006 11:00AM

The Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today traveled to southern Lebanon to witness the impact of the war on a town badly damaged by bombing and to review the needs of the people as they rebuild their lives after nearly five weeks of conflict.

“Having followed the conflict day by day, I was determined to come to Lebanon and see for myself what people have gone through,” James Morris said. “I am saddened by their losses but also encouraged by people's strength and resilience.”

He went to Ghazieh, a farming community where 31 residents were killed in Israeli bombing raids and some 20 houses and dozens of shops destroyed, the agency said in a news release. Most of those who fled the fighting have now returned, and have started repairing and reconstructing their properties.

“Over the next few weeks, many people still need food aid so their resources and energies can be devoted to the numerous other issues they face while recovering from the crisis," said Mr. Morris, who arrived in Lebanon yesterday on a two-day visit following a trip to Egypt, where he addressed the League of Arab States. “Once commeῲcial activities return to normal, we will be able to wind up our operations. We do not want to stay a day longer than necessary.

In line with WFP's policy of distributing two-week rations to those in need, the people of Ghazieh are this weekend due to receive packages of wheat flour, salt, and canned meat and vegetables. WFP rations will be distributed locally to some 2,500 people by the municipal authorities.

Yesterday, Mr. Morris met Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and other senior officials.

Since the beginning of the emergency operation in Lebanon, WFP has dispatched a total of 4,500 tons of food to locations in all parts of the country. The agency has reached more than 700,000 people since the start of its emergency operation in July and is now targeting some 350,000 of the worst-affected people in Lebanon. The agency is preparing to wind up its emergency food aid operation in Lebanon by the end of October.

Ends

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