OPT, Lebanon: Crises in the Middle East

Report
from AmeriCares
Published on 19 Jul 2006 View Original
While the Middle East continues to erupt in violence, the humanitarian situation of those living in many countries in the area grows more desperate by the day. AmeriCares is continuing to provide aid to the region, with relief shipments to both Lebanon and Gaza and the West Bank having arrived safely recently.
AmeriCares has been working in the region for more than a dozen years, through an ongoing partnership with ANERA (American Near East Refugee Aid). In Lebanon, AmeriCares supports numerous refugee camps and hospitals around Beirut, serving a direct beneficiary population of more than 250,000 people. Through a new collaboration between AmeriCares, ANERA and Dar el Fatwa (the Healthcare Society), AmeriCares' medicines are widely distributed in the southern part of the country. A shipment of antibiotics and other essential medicines safely arrived last week prior to the violence.

In Gaza and the West Bank, where nearly 30% of children are suffering from malnutrition, and nearly half a million people are dependent on food aid, AmeriCares provides ongoing relief shipments to address these critical nutritional problems. Through regular monthly donations of essential medicines and medical supplies, AmeriCares directly benefits approximately 250,000 Palestinians.

"Most of the images we are seeing in the U.S. focus on the violence and the killings," says AmeriCares relief worker Kathleen Oldaker, who visited both Lebanon and Gaza earlier this year. "But the reality is that the larger percentage of the population is innocent people who are struggling to eat, struggling to provide for their families and children who have known no life except one filled with violence and a lack of basic necessities. All of these people are in desperate need of aid."

"We are monitoring these latest developments very carefully," says Oldaker. "Last year, when the crisis in the Palestine territories worsened, we were able to double our relief efforts to our partners. If we need to expand our efforts in Lebanon, we will certainly do so."

AmeriCares has been collaborating with ANERA since 1993, and has delivered more than $32 million worth of aid to the region.