The purpose of this report is to present an account of the humanitarian response from the start of the conflict in Lebanon on 12 July to 30 August – the date at which the Humanitarian Flash Appeal was revised. The report coincides with the launch of the Government of Lebanon's Early Recovery Plans which are designed to further stimulate the needed rebuilding efforts. Developments on the ground indicate that it is also a time when the humanitarian effort should wind down and, assuming the political situation remains stable, should wrap up completely by the end of October.
With the projects under the Flash Appeal due to end before or on the 24 October, this is an interim report that reviews activities to date. A more comprehensive account can be made available at the end of the funded emergency period.
As donors fund projects undertaken by UN agencies under the Flash Appeal, there is a further obligation to account to donors, usually involving both narrative and financial reports. In addition, UN agencies are regularly audited both internally and externally to ensure that activities are undertaken according to UN rules and financial regulations.
2. THE LEBANON CRISIS AND THE HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE
2.1 NATURE OF THE CRISIS
The Israeli-Lebanese conflict was completely unexpected. It came at a time when Lebanon was anticipating a record tourist season and an economy predicted to reach 5% growth. It was also brief, lasting 33 days. And, at its end, the more than 900,000 people who fled their homes in fear of their lives returned, often to destroyed homes and communities. Since that time, some families have been displaced for a second time having returned home only to find their homes uninhabitable.
It is important to reflect that this emergency was not, and did not become, a humanitarian crisis. It began as – and remained – a crisis of protection. People did not die from poor sanitation, hunger or disease. They died from bombs and shells.
The aversion of a humanitarian crisis during the conflict was due to a number of factors – the response of local Lebanese communities and organisations during the war who took in nearly one-quarter of the Lebanese population that had been displaced. Those displaced were mainly from the south, but also from the southern suburbs of Beirut and from the Bekaa Valley. It was also due to the fact that the conflict was short and those displaced still had coping mechanisms. And finally, it was due to the mobilisation of the humanitarian community.
The need for an international response on the scale that was provided – in what is a middle income country – was due to Israel's unleashing of a widespread and often indiscriminate bombardment. The month-long conflict between Israel and Hezbollah resulted in the death of 1,189 Lebanese and the injury of a further 4,399. It is estimated that approximately 30,000 housing units were destroyed or badly damaged, the vast majority in the south of Lebanon and in southern Beirut.
Israel imposed a 57-day blockade (13 July – 8 September) on Lebanon, bombed Beirut airport, denied commercial ships and airplanes access to Lebanese airports and ports, and destroyed main arterial roads. Lebanon was paralysed as a result - trade collapsed and the economy stalled. The movement of people and goods between regions in Lebanon slowed to a trickle due to the fear of Israeli attack.
2.2 THE INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE DURING THE WAR
The international humanitarian response during the war focused on reaching those people most affected by hostilities. Within the first ten days of the conflict, the UN escorted civilians fleeing the fighting and provided urgent medical evacuations. Portable water and other essential relief items were distributed to IDP populations. Food and non-food items including essential drugs, mattresses, tents and blankets were transported to Lebanon and ready for distribution to conflict-affected areas.
The UN's added value during the course of the conflict was concentrated in three areas:
1. It negotiated with the Israeli military a prior notification process so that UN convoys, organised through the World Food Programme, could move without being targeted. This procedure was also employed to obtain clearance for UN ships and ships contracted by the Government of Lebanon as well as GoL convoys within Lebanon. Thus, when movement in the south was almost impossible due to the IDF's bombing campaign, the UN was still able to negotiate access for humanitarian convoys to south Lebanon.
Of all the planned convoys, 20% did not go ahead due to problems of coordination with the IDF – no reply, late reply to notification or advisories not to travel to specific locations. In addition, WFP convoys were delayed or cancelled due to the bombing of roads and bridges, the inability of convoy drivers to get to work, and Israeli bombings perilously close to UN convoys.
2. It mobilised significant logistic capacity to move relief goods. Through the contracting of over 80 trucks and two cargo ships, it was able to move large quantities of material not only for UN agencies, but also for NGOs and government ministries. More than 294 trucks of food and non-food items were mobilised to hardest hit areas during the conflict. Support was also provided to displaced families who had sought refuge in schools, mosques and other centres, through a myriad of local organisations and GOL structures that were also assisting.
As the graph above shows, the number of trucks deployed in convoys increased steadily during the war, peaked immediately following the cessation of hostilities and then began dropping off as the private sector began to be used more frequently.
The overwhelming majority of supplies were delivered directly to beneficiaries or through the most efficient local mechanism. Municipalities were most commonly used, but religious leaders and village elders were also engaged where local government structures were not functioning. Other supplies, such as medical supplies, were contributed to the Ministry of Health but often delivered directly to hospitals and clinics because of movement restrictions.
3. While the international response was humanitarian in nature, it played an important protection function. It maintained international awareness on the need to access beleaguered populations, ensured that access was granted to those with a humanitarian mandate, and ensured that there were international witnesses to the conflict – in addition to the large press corps. The UN advocated for the protection of civilians most notably through the visit of the UN Secretary General and the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator. On the 11th of August, the UN Human Rights Council decided to:
"...urgently establish and immediately dispatch a high level commission of inquiry, comprising of eminent experts on Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law, ... to investigate the systematic targeting and killing of civilians by Israel in Lebanon" (Special Session Resolution S-2/1).
2. The Lebanon crisis and the humanitarian response
2.1 Nature of the crisis
2.2 The international response during the war
2.3 The response after the cessation of Hostilities
2.4 Organisation of the humanitarian response
2.5 Early recovery
2.6 Obstacles to recovery
3. Humanitarian assistance in numbers (12 July – 30 August)
3.2 Shelter and non food items
3.4 Water and sanitation
4. Funding Status
4.1 Summary of expenditure against requirements - by cluster
4.2 Summary of expenditure against requirements - by appealing organisation
5. Report on cluster activities and results
5.1 Food security
5.2 Shelter and non food items (Nfi)
5.3 Health and nutrition
5.4 Water and sanitation
5.8 Emergency telecommunications
5.9 Common services
Annex A WFP food distribution by location
Annex B Tonnage delivered by the logistics cluster
Annex C Acronyms and abbreviations
Map 1a/B Food distribution
Map 2 Non food items distribution
Map 3 Water and sanitation activities
Map 4 Cluster strike lLocations
(pdf* format - 1.52 MB)
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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