Lebanon + 1 more

Lebanon Crisis: Health Cluster Bulletin No. 19, 06 Jun 2007

The Lebanon Crisis Health Cluster Bulletin aims to give overview of the health activities conducted by the health partners in relation to the latest Lebanon conflict as well as crisis in the Palestinian camps. It compiles health received from the different organizations working in the affected areas.

The Health Cluster Bulletin will be issued every Wednesday.


No outbreaks were reported through the Early Warning and Response system (EWARS). However, cases of suspected Pertussis and chickenpox are awaiting diagnosis confirmation.

Nahr El-Bared Crisis

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) is leading the Humanitarian and Relief interventions in response to the Nahr El-Bared Crisis.

UNRWA launched yesterday a Flash Appeal for US $12.7 million to address the urgent needs of 30,000 displaced Palestine refugees because of the fighting in and around Nahr El-Bared camp in North Lebanon since 20 May 2007.

An increasing number of Internally Displaced Palestinian Refugees continues to flow to other safer Palestinian camps as well as Lebanese areas causing overcrowding and stretching to maximum the capacities of the hosting communities.

Situation Overview

Through the reports of the EWARS, three of the six previously reported Pertussis cases and their contacts were treated awaiting diagnosis confirmation. Three additional new cases were reported in Tyr and Nabatieh districts, treatment was received however awaiting confirmation. Furthermore, 20 cases of Chickenpox were reported through the EWARS in Hasbaya District.

Nahr El-Bared Crisis

To date the clashes in Nahr El-Bared camp in Tripoli, North of Lebanon, continue with varying intensity prohibiting access to the camp.

According to UNRWA, reports from Beddawi camp regarding reportable communicable diseases indicate that no changes in the incidence of communicable diseases has occurred among IDPs and camp residents. UNRWA is collecting information on communicable diseases among Palestinian refugees (displaced and residents) on a daily basis from all fixed and mobile health facilities in North Lebanon.

On June 1, 2007, UNRWA reported the number of IDPs to reach 32,444. The majority 27,436 are in North Lebanon Area with 3,510 IDPs inside UNRWA schools and 11,350 IDPs within families and in clubs in Beddawi camp, the remaining are outside the camps. The population of Beddawi camp has swollen from 16,000 persons to around 37,000, jeopardizing the lives of inhabitants and stretching the already overcrowded living conditions. Four hundred thirty one persons fled to Bekaa, 2,102 to Central Lebanon Area, 1,502 to Saida and 973 to Tyr.

UNRWA Flash Appeal amounting US $12.7 million includes provisions for emergency health, water, sanitation services and protection plans as well as food assistance, non food items and shelter, both immediately in order to relieve the congestion of Beddawi camp and in the short term to ensure suitable temporary shelters for the IDPs.

The Lebanese Red Cross Society (LRCS) Emergency Medical Services (EMS) teams are in a readiness state in the North District are 44 first aid workers with 11 ambulances are working in the 5 first aid posts and another 17 ambulances with 57 first aid workers are on stand by status.

UNRWA Plan of Action for Immediate Response to Provide Health Services at Naher El-Bared Camp is ready awaiting cessation of clashes.

Health Response to the Humanitarian Crisis

National and international Health Cluster partners are providing support in four core areas:

1. Assessment and monitoring

WHO supported the National Collaborative Perinatal Neonatal Network (NCPNN) to develop and expand the NCPNN in Lebanon in order to insure a national coverage. Currently, information on over 87,000 mothers and their newborn infants from 19 hospitals (20% of the total deliveries in Lebanon) from the different Mohafazats is available and shared among the network members. Four additional hospitals are foreseen in this project.

2. Health coordination

The Health cluster meeting was held on June 5 and attended by four partners in addition to Ministry of Public health and WHO sub-office-Tyr. The next meeting will take place on Tuesday June 19 at 15:00, WHO office within the Ministry of Public Health office in Tyr.

The Mental Health and Psychosocial Support sub-cluster coordination meeting was held on May 28 with the participation of 5 partners. The next meeting will take place on Monday June 25 at 12:00, WHO office-Tyr.

The Health Cluster and Mental Health Matrices are regularly updated and shared with partners.

Nahr El-Bared Crisis

The United Nations Country Team (UNCT) is meeting on June 7 to provide coordinated support to UNRWA's leadership in responding to the humanitarian crisis in Nahr El-Bared camp.

The second Health Cluster meeting chaired by UNRWA and Co Chaired by WHO took place on June 5 at UNRWA-Lebanon Field Office. WHO, UNICEF and local Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) operating in the North area attended the meeting.

The Resident Coordinator Representative (RCO) and UNRWA representative are attending, on behalf of all UN agencies, a daily meeting with the prime minister to coordinate and update on relief actions for the crisis in the camps.

An updated Humanitarian intervention matrix of the various partners acting in response to the Naher El-Bared crisis is available on www.lebanon-support.org.

3. Filling health gaps

Nahr El-Bared Crisis

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) distributed, since the beginning of the hostilities in Naher El-Bared Camp, to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) - Safad Hospital 2 Module Injection,1 module dressing for burns, 5 module dressing, 350 bags of Lactate Ringer, 3 Set Sutures, 2 Set Anesthesia, 3 Set of Sterile Gloves, Medical supplies, ATB Medications, 1 Set Plaster, 50 Body Bags and 1 Kit of Emergency Case and Basic medical supplies, 10 H2O Mattresses, 1,040 double Blood bags, 960 Single Blood Bags, 1500 Bandages and 450 Catheters.

ICRC provided the LRCS-EMS with 115 dressing sets, 60 burns kits and 25 body bags. Furthermore, the Naher El-Bared Camp Committee was provided with 1 Module Injection, 1 Module Dressing for burns, 2 Module Dressing, 50 bags of Lactate Ringer, 1 Set Sutures, 1 Set Anesthesia, 50 body Bags, 5 Stretchers as well as other medical supplies. Further, Al Shifaa' Clinic in Naher El-Bared camp received ATB, chronic disease, analgesic as well as gastric medications, 7 Module Dressing, 1 Set Gloves, 1 Set Plaster, 1 Set Sutures as well as other Medical supplies

LRCS in cooperation with the PRCS and ICRC transported up Until June 5, 2007 158 wounded, 41 corpses, 514 civilians from the camp's entrance and 79 ill persons as well as conducted 29 convoys.

ICRC provided the 250 families displaced from Ain El Heloueh camp to the municipality in Saida due to the recent clashes with Hygiene kits, blankets as well as food portions.

The government of Lebanon, through the Higher Relief Commission (HRC) is fully covering the injuries resulting from the Naher El-Bared camp hostilities.

The Haya't al-Isaaf Al-Sha'bi is providing medical services in Beddawi Camp through its clinic equipped with four doctors and assistant pharmacists who performed 197 consultations on June 1.

LRCS in an agreement with UNRWA is ensuring ambulance services of Palestinian refugee patients to Beirut. A four hours prior notice is requested.

UNRWA reported that water tested for residual chlorine on daily basis is supplied in appropriate quantities to the Beddawi camp. Furthermore, refuse from the camp as well as other displacement areas is collected twice daily. In addition, regular spraying with insecticide is conducted in these areas. However, reinforcement of water and sanitation activities in camps to address emerging needs.

Dar El-Ifta'a supplied approximately 320 boxes of essential and chronic medications to UNRWA in Beddawi camp.

UNRWA provided additional medical supplies and a gas-operating refrigerator, adult scale, diagnostic set, examination light, wooden tables, utility tables, FP instruments, visitor chair, drums and gallipots as well as 2,000 and 5,000 bottles of benzyl benzoate and Panadol syrup respectively to cover the needs of IDPs at Beddawi camp.

The World Vision distributed around 3,200 one-week coverage baby hygiene kits to IDPRs in Beddawi, Borj Barajneh, Chatila and Al-Bass camps.

UNICEF distributed recreation kits to meet the needs of 3,000 children. Further, UNICEF trained more than 100 Palestinian youth to facilitate recreational activities with their peers.

UNICEF and UNRWA are supporting daily transportation through buses of approximately 1,000 Palestinian youth and teachers living in the nearby Beddawi refugee camp to UNRWA schools in Tripoli area. The buses began running in three shifts daily on June 2 for the students' first day back at school since the Nahr El Bared conflict began on May 20.

UNICEF dispatched to the UNRWA distribution point at Beddawi camp 1,200 family hygiene kits, 9,000 two-Liters bottles of water, 5,500 jerry cans, over one million water purification tablets, 24 collapsible water tanks (5,000 liters each), 19 rigid water tanks (1,500 liters each) in addition to a water treatment on standby for Nahr El-Bared camp. Furthermore, Obstetrics kits to handle 150 deliveries and Essential drugs were provided to serve a population of 75,000.

UNICEF in collaboration with Palestinian Red Crescent is finalizing an inventory of drugs for Nahr El-Bared camp. In addition to working on prepositioning water, sanitation, and health supplies for Nahr El Bared as well as potentially for Ein Al Helweh camp in Saida.

4. Preserving and supporting local health systems

WHO trainings on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergencies recently reached 43 paramedical staff from Health centers in Kesserouan and Jbeil areas. Similar trainings in Akkar, West Bekaa, Zahle and Balbeck are postponed to further notice due to the current situation. Tyr training is planned for June 12-13.

WHO launched a series of Trainings on analytical methods for water quality control using LaMotte Portable laboratories previously provided by WHO to the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Water and Energy, the water authorities, Rafic Hariri Governmental Hospital and the municipality of Beirut. Thirty-two Health inspectors and personnel from the above-mentioned institutions attended the first of three trainings planned for June 07. These trainings are in line with establishing the drinking water quality surveillance system in the country.

UNFPA supported the implementation by the National Commission for Lebanese Women of a project on Women Empowerment: Peaceful Action for Security and Stability (WEPASS). The project aiming at empowering women to take part in peace building, targets 10 war affected communities namely: Aytaroun, Bent Jbeil, Deir Mimas, Dwayr, Ghaziyeh, Ghobeiry, Kfeir, Nabatiyeh, Ras Baalbeck and Yarine. Based on needs assessment and participatory approach, the topics addressed throughout the various activities touched on UNSCR 1325, Gender Based Violence, Women Rights, Reproductive Health, decision-making, gender equity, family budget, and Basics in Emergency Relief in Conflict Situations.

WHO support to the aim of the Ministry of Public Health in decentralizing the drugs' dispensing system has been translated by a first action through the provision of the Ministry by 14 portable refrigerators.

WHO recruited the Institute for Development Research Advocacy and Applied Care (IDRAC) to conduct refresher sessions on Mental Health and Psycho-Social Support in Emergencies. Eight workshops over the six Mohfazats will address approximately 400 Physicians from the societies of General practitioners, Family Medicine, Obstetrician, Gynecology and Pediatrics.

INTERSOS is conducting a "child friendly spaces" program operating on a one week intervention covering 40 villages in Nabatieh and Tyr Districts offering awareness and health educational to mothers and schools and creating a temporary child friendly space for children to play and participate in capacity development activities. Numerous special cases needing psychological and/or psychiatric counseling are encountered.

WHO in collaboration with the Lebanese Health Society (LHS) is conducting a project on "HIV/AIDS Awareness among War Inflected Regions in South Lebanon". The project targeting one thousand youth and young adults aged 15-35 years in villages south to the Litani river focuses among others on the relation between conflicts and STIs/HIV spread as well as empowering women to negotiate preventive measures.

Nahr El-Bared Crisis

UNRWA hired five medical officers, three assistant pharmacist, two doorkeepers, two clerks and two cleaners and other support health workers to assist in management of patients in Beddawi clinic where two shifts are operating to insure services for 650 IDPs and 300 residents on average daily.

World Health Organization
All inputs are welcome on: health@leb.emro.who.int