ACT Update: Lebanon humanitarian crisis
26 Jul 2006 09:52:00 GMT
Source: Action by Churches Together (ACT) - Switzerland
Elisabeth Gouel
Website: http://www.act-intl.org
 
 Update
Lebanon 2/2006
LEBANON HUMANITARIAN CRISIS
Geneva, July 25, 2006

 
The crisis in Lebanon remains critical after 14 days of bombing, ACT member, the Middle East Council of Churches, MECC reports.
The most concerning issue is the lack of safe passage to deliver humanitarian aid to the affected population as communication and transport routes between the different Lebanese regions are hindered. UN agencies have been advocating for the opening of humanitarian corridors but they have not yet materialized.
MECC reports that the lack of food and medical supplies is starting to be felt and that the prices have increased significantly. Internally displaced families are now located in schools, public parks and even on street sidewalks. Lebanese civilians residing in so-called "safer areas", have mobilized themselves, volunteering to assist and offer all kinds of help to the displaced, hoping to receive rapid aid from local or international organizations.
MECC Emergency team has been meeting with different Government institutions, UN agencies and local and international NGOs for coordination and collaboration purposes. They report that churches in Lebanon and their related organizations have opened their doors to assist the displaced and are responding to needs within their means. A survey of the situation of church related schools and centers that have received the internally displaced in the different regions of Lebanon was initiated by the MECC/ICNDR and is underway. The information will be shared as soon as available.
MECC also reports that the Patriarchate of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch has opened its monasteries of St. Mary of Saydnaya, St. Takla in Maalula and St. Paul in Tal-Kokab in Syria for the Lebanese population who have fled the war. The Patriarchate is also collecting donations to help assist these refugees in Syria. MECC Associate General Secretary Mr. Samer Lahham is leaving for Greece tomorrow morning, July 26, and will be meeting with Solidarity (NGO) to coordinate the shipping of humanitarian aid to Lebanon and Syria.
The Kykkos Monastery in Cyprus is preparing to ship humanitarian assistance, offered on behalf of the Church of Cyprus and the Government, that will be sent once the safe humanitarian corridor is opened.
The ACT CO is in permanent contact with MECC and is finalizing the preparations of a CATs team that it is expected to travel to Lebanon during the week end of July 29-30. MECC is working in a preliminary appeal that it is expected to be received tomorrow (July 26) by the ACT CO.
ACT member, Norwegian Church Aid (NCA), has already deployed a team of two persons to assist MECC in the primary phase of the crisis. One member of the team has been supporting MECC on the assessment of the situation and the preparation of the preliminary appeal while the water and sanitation engineer is working on the water and sanitation component.
With the resources received from the RRF and initial contributions from NCA and Danchurchaid, MECC will initiate tomorrow the distribution of food and hygienic packages, tomorrow, July 26.
Lutheran World Relief, LWR, has reimbursed U$20,000 of the RRF sent to Lebanon. Church of Sweden, DanChurchAid, Finchurchaid and Church World service, have already indicated their intention to support the forthcoming ACT appeal.
(ends)
ACT is a global alliance of churches and related agencies working to save lives and support communities in emergencies worldwide. The ACT Coordinating Office is based with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Switzerland.
[ Any views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not of Reuters. ]
 
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/fromthefield/222031/115390769719.htm
 
 
 
 
 
ACT Update: Lebanon Humanitarian Crisis
04 Aug 2006 16:00:00 GMT
Source: Action by Churches Together (ACT) - Switzerland
Elisabeth Gouel
Website: http://www.act-intl.org
 
Update
LEBANON 3/2006
LEBANON HUMANITARIAN CRISIS
Geneva, August 4, 2006
 
The Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) reports that the night of August 3 - 4 has been one of the most violent since the Israeli attacks on Lebanon started. More than 50 air raids and heavy shelling from warships was felt all over the country. Five major bridges linking the north of Lebanon to the capital Beirut were hit and 70 people were injured.
Leaflets were dropped by Israeli warplanes on the southern suburbs of Beirut, asking the population to leave. Shelling of the southern suburbs continued all night and included the area of Ouzai, the entry point to Beirut International Airport as well as one of the airport runways. Air raids on the north east of Baalbek, hit a power plant in the western part of the Beqaa, in addition to houses and civilian structures.
According to the Lebanese High Relief Committee loss of life has reached 900, the injured now number 3,400 and the displaced are reported to be 1,400,000 (300,000 of whom are located in private houses with family or friends or in rented houses).
Shortages of fuel, electricity and water are increasingly being felt. Black market prices are expected go sky high as the fuel crisis intensifies. Market activities have slowed down as people fear unexpected air raids and shelling, especially after the destruction wreaked in the so called "safer areas".
Emergency Activities
MECC continues its relief distributions as far as the situation allows. The MECC warehouse is full of supplies and volunteers are packing and preparing parcels. The damage to bridges and highways and the suspected further damage of side roads will further affect communication between regions.
A pilot project was launched a few days ago in Saida, Beirut and Mount Lebanon ensuring water and sanitation in 4 centers for the displaced (2 in Saida and 2 in Beirut) thanks to the technical assistance and guidance of the Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) team currently in Lebanon.
There is close co-ordination with the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Minister of Social Affairs, Mrs. Nayla Moawad, has been highly appreciative of the work carried out by ACT/MECC and is ready to facilitate the work in any way possible.
It is expected that the current appeal will be revised next week and that a psycho-social component will be included as the needs are very high. Furthermore, the Minister of Social Affairs has given high priority to this issue, mobilizing well-known psychologists, psychotherapists and educators as well as requesting volunteers from among university students to assist in the centers for the displaced. MECC also intends to include a request for medicines as the supplies in the country are now very low.
Co-ordination
The MECC Emergency Committee/ICNDR Team and ACT/CAT team have been working on the organizational chart for the Emergency Operation. Working procedures and logistics have been established as well as the Memo of Understanding with NCA regarding the water/sanitation project. A security management plan for MECC and expatriate staff is being developed.
The MECC Emergency Committee/ICNDR team and ACT/CAT team have been working in co-ordination and with the support of the NCA team on water/sanitation and communications, a DanChurch Aid (DCA) team on logistics and fundraising and a Christian Aid (CAID) advisor on security. The team has also been in contact with the UN system, the local authorities and other relevant organizations responding to this crisis.
Due to the increased insecurity in the country, the ACT/CAT team comprising John Damerell (consultant), Rolf Berglund (seconded by Church of Sweden) and Dominic Nutt (seconded by CAID) will have to leave the country earlier than planned.
Other responses
ACT member, the International Orthodox Church Charities (IOCC) reports that they are responding to the situation through their office in Lebanon distributing relief packages. IOCC has indicated their interest in participating in the ACT Appeal and they have been requested to co-ordinate with MECC.
ACT member, Hungarian Interchurch Aid (HIA) reports that, through a volunteer, they are supporting MECC efforts in Syria to assist Lebanese refugees. They also report that the Hungarian Government will allocate funds to assist the affected population in Lebanon. HIA are planning to contact and co-ordinate their response with MECC in Lebanon.
(ends)
ACT is a global alliance of churches and related agencies working to save lives and support communities in emergencies worldwide. The ACT Coordinating Office is based with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Switzerland.
[ Any views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not of Reuters. ]
 
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/fromthefield/222031/115470740483.htm