Lebanon Crisis: Health Cluster Bulletin No. 21, 20 Jun 2007

The Lebanon Crisis Health Cluster Bulletin aims to give an overview of the health activities conducted by the health cluster partners in relation to the latest Lebanon conflict as well as the crisis in the Palestinian camps. It compiles health information received from the different organizations working in the most 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 Brucellosis and Typhoid are awaiting diagnosis confirmation.

One New landmines/UXOs/cluster bombs' casualty was registered last week as per the National Demining Office (NDO) and UNDP Mine action report.

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 developed a contingency return plan to Nahr El-Bared in consultation with its partners.

Tension continues in Naher El-Bared camp leading to more Internally Displaced Refugees (IDRs).

Situation Overview

Through the EWARS, 14 cases of suspected Typhoid fever and 9 cases of suspected Brucellosis were reported from Meis Al Jabal governmental hospital. Most of the cases are from district of Marjayoun and Bint Jbeil. Furthermore, one case of suspected measles was reported from Nabatieh.

According to the National Demining Office (NDO) and UNDP Mine action, one new casualty was registered during the last week, bringing the total number of military and civilian casualty figures due to landmines/UXOs/cluster bombs to 239. Most of the civilians injuries and deaths are due to Reconnaissance of home followed by agricultural activities.

Nahr El-Bared Crisis

An explosion killed two people and wounded three in Lebanon's largest Palestinian refugee camp of Ein el-Hilweh on Monday.

The situation in Beddawi camp remains tense but calm.

Fights continue in Nahr El-Bared camp-North of Lebanon.

No more UNRWA staff are left inside Naher El-Bared 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 IDRs and camp residents.

On June 19, 2007, UNRWA counted 31,250 IDRs. The main bulk is situated in the North, followed by the South then the central Lebanese regions.

A contingency return plan to Nahr El-Bared was developed and is being reviewed to incorporate feedback from the various partners. The plan covers health and environmental health services to three main target groups namely the refugees who remained in the Naher El-Bared camp, the returnees with acceptable living premises and the refugees staying in the IDRs areas.

Health Response to the Humanitarian Crisis

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

1. Assessment and monitoring

Nahr El-Bared Crisis

UNRWA is planning needs assessment immediately once accessibility to Naher El-Bared is safe. For this purpose, a team consisting of the chief field Health Programme, the field Sanitary Engineer and its assistant is composed.

WHO provided UNRWA with supportive technical documents on needs assessment of health facilities, management of dead bodies, EWARS establishment, and vector control procedures.

2. Health coordination

The Health cluster meeting took place on Tuesday June 19 and was attended by 6 partners.

The next Mental Health and Psychosocial Support sub-cluster coordination meeting will take place on Monday June 25 at 12:00, WHO office-Tyr.

The WATSAN sub-cluster meeting is taking place every other Thursday at 12:00 at the Water Authority in Saida.

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

Nahr El-Bared Crisis

The fourth Health Cluster meeting chaired by UNRWA took place on June 18 at UNRWA-Lebanon Field Office in Beirut. UN agencies, national and international Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) operating in the North area attended the meeting and finalized the Humanitarian Relief return plan to Nahr el-Bared.

UNRWA health coordinator in the North conducted two Health Coordination meeting with acting partners in Beddawi Camp.

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 Palestinian 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

UNRWA Beddawi clinic continues providing medical services for Naher El-Bared IDRs. The number of consultations for IDRs is more than two times that of the camp residents with 2.741 in comparison to 1.174 for camp residents over the last week. In addition, the mobile clinic delivered 345 consultations with approximately 100 consultations more than last week to IDRs at Menieh, Tripoli and surrounding villages. The team is providing medical care services and vaccinating children.

World Vision (WV) in its support to assist IDRs and especially children, distributed an additional 2,444 baby hygiene kits to IDRs in Beddawi, El Buss, Bekaa, Borj El Barajneh and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps, bringing the number of kits distributed so far to 6,144. Further, 210 newborns baby cribs and 20 water mattresses for children with disabilities were disbursed.

International Committee for Red Cross (ICRC), through the Palestinian Red crescent society (PRCS) assisted the remaining population of Naher El-Bard with 8,8 MT of foods and 2,000 liters of water during the period 7 to 16 of June.

The Lebanese Red Cross Society (LRCS) Emergency Medical Services (EMS) teams maintain their status of readiness. Twelve ambulances equipped by 52 first aid workers are working in the six first aid posts while 15 ambulances with 90 first aid workers are on stand by in the EMS stations. The teams performed as of June 19 various missions transporting 391 wounded, 53 corpses, 1,015 civilians from the camp's entrance, 238 ill persons in medical emergency.

LRC Youth Department is managing humanitarian assistance of an IDRs' center hosting 246 persons in Loukman School in Beddawi camp. The 12 volunteers are distributing food and humanitarian aid in the center.

PRCS evacuated eight civilian Palestinian Refugees from Nahr el-Bared Camp.

UNICEF donated UNRWA 2 New Emergency Health Kits (NEHK) and 5 essential medicines kit for children of Lebanon. One NEHK provides essential drugs for 10,000 patients over a period of 3 months and one kit for children provides essential medicines for around 7.000 children over a month period.

Beit Atfal Al Somoud center in Beddawi camp offered counseling services to approximately 1,000 IDRs suffering of psychological disorders. Plans to extend psychosocial support services to the returnees to Nahr el-Bared camp are envisaged.

Beit Atfal Al Somoud offered dental medical care to approximately 764 IDRs.

UNRWA school Health team continues visits to schools. Pediculosis and scabies cases were provided with treatment and follow up, in addition to the distribution of related pamphlets.

Norwegian People Aid (NPA) is providing care to the disabled in Beddawi camp including the distribution of equipments facilitating mobility, hygiene and health needs. Internally Displaced Refugees suffering from disability can be referred to NPA.

4. Preserving and supporting local health systems

WHO support to the Ministry of Public Health systems continues. In collaboration with WHO-EMRO-PAHO, new software named Logistic Support System (LSS) for Emergencies is under implementation at drug warehouses. Further, an updated version of the LSS software encompassing new features has been installed at the Medical supplies Warehouse. The software will enable the ministry to control the management of drugs, medical supplies and equipments' reception during crisis.

WHO three training workshops on "Analytical Methods for Water Quality Control" reached 74 health inspectors and personnel from the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Water and Energy, the water establishments, Rafic Hariri Governmental Hospital and the municipality of Beirut. LaMotte Portable laboratories provided by WHO will be used to undertake bacteriological and chemical analysis of water. Training on "Proper Water Sampling Techniques" is planned for June 25.

Nahr El-Bared Crisis

UNRWA health teams completed the Poliomyelitis and Measles vaccination campaign in North Lebanon reaching as of June 19, 3,931 children with Polio vaccine and 11,091 children with the measles vaccine. Vaccination continues at the Beddawi and Mina health center.

Naba'a conducted two training workshops on dealing with psychologically traumatized children in Beddawi camp targeting approximately 30 youth volunteers and 26 community workers from the various organizations operating in Beddawi and Naher El-Bared camps. Trainees should be able to recognize warning signs in children and refer them to psychiatrists and psychologists.

UNICEF in collaboration with PRCS reached 300 IDRs childbearing age women at Beddawi camp with orientation session promoting breast-feeding practices. More sessions are planned.

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