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Lebanon - Moving From Relief To Recovery

Lebanon: UN Moves From Emergency Relief Phase To Recovery, Reconstruction

New York, Oct 25 2006 2:00PM

United Nations humanitarian agencies have now wrapped up their emergency relief operations in Lebanon following this summer’s war between Israel and Hizbollah and are moving on to the recovery and reconstruction phase, a spokesman announced in New York today.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) closed its office in Lebanon yesterday and the new phase, already underway, is being led by the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

During the emergency relief stage, the agencies helped repair broken water systems and damaged schools as well as trucking in medicines, food, water, temporary shelter and other essential supplies to southern Lebanon, the area worst hit by Israel’s 34-day war with Hizbollah.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), for example, made sure hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren received notebooks and other supplies before classes resumed earlier this month.

Hundreds of sites where cluster bombs lie unexploded on the ground have also been identified by the UN Mine Action Coordination Centre (UNMACC) and this operation is continuing.

UN de-mining officials, already worried by up to 1 million pieces of unexploded ordnance in southern Lebanon left over from the war, are concerned that the problem could worsen as winter weather embeds the munitions deeper into the ground. UNICEF has warned that children face “a terrible situation” from the munitions as they go across fields to and from school.

ends

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