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Situation update: Middle East, 18 August 2006

Friday August 18, 2006

Action by the ICRC, the Lebanese Red Cross and their partners

As the Middle East ceasefire commenced, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) convoys carrying food, medical supplies and fuel for generators took to the roads in a major effort to reach villages and towns that had been cut off from the outside world for as long as two weeks.

Fuel remains one of the items most coveted by residents who have had to survive without being able to pump water for many days. Food may have been running short in some cases, but most villagers managed to survive on staples they had in reserve.

With the return of displaced people to the cities and villages by the thousands, ICRC delegates are assessing needs while they distribute aid to the most vulnerable inhabitants, including the elderly. Many of these people stayed put throughout the conflict.

Red Cross aims to assist at least 200,000 internally displaced people and vulnerable residents in Lebanon with food and other essential items by the end of the year.

In addition, the organisation aims to deliver drinking water to one million people and to support health structures used by 600,000 people.


Since the start of the crisis on 12 July, the ICRC has:

  • provided food and other basic items for 25,462 families (19,423 in the Tyre region, 1,416 in Beirut, 295 in Tripoli and northern Lebanon, 3,523 in the Marjayoun region and 805 in the Bekaa valley)
  • distributed, in cooperation with Lebanese Red Cross volunteers, an average of 40,000 litres of drinking water per day to internally displaced persons scattered in some 20 schools in Beirut and its surroundings
  • provided drugs, surgical equipment and other medical supplies (to treat war wounded and people suffering from chronic illnesses) for a dozen medical facilities, including hospitals and Lebanese Red Cross health centres, mainly in southern Lebanon
  • delivered 14,215 litres of fuel needed to run vital civilian infrastructure, such as hospitals, Lebanese Red Cross health centres and water pumps in isolated villages in southern Lebanon
  • supplied three generators to run Lebanese Red Cross health centres in Tibnin, Nabatiyeh and Beirut and one generator to run the water-supply system in Marjayoun
  • shipped and airlifted over 1,600 tonnes of relief supplies to the region (another 10,000 tonnes of supplies are to be delivered by mid-September).

Youth volunteers have distributed hygiene kits, donated by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), to 48,000 IDPs. They are also distributing water in 12 IDP centres in Beirut with help from the ICRC. Youth volunteers will eventually be responsible for food distribution to 200,000 IDPs in partnership with ICRC. The nine blood banks are open 24 hours a day, coping well with the increased needs. ICRC is providing some additional material needs. No shortage of blood donors has been reported.


Approximately 150,000 people are reported to have taken refuge in Syria so far, a third of whom have moved on to other countries. The Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) assists those fleeing the conflict providing water, food and other emergency items. Where possible, the SARC also assists those crossing the border to re-establish contact with their relatives.


In Israel, according to reports issued by Israel's National Society Magen David Adom, MDA staff and volunteers have, since 12 July, been called to the scene of 716 incidents, where they have treated and/or evacuated 1278 casualties.