Lebanon: Health a right for all, especially in crisis


WHO Health Response to the Lebanon Crisis


The Israeli-Lebanese conflict was an unexpected occurrence that left a considerable impact on Lebanon in many aspects, including health.

The conflict, which lasted 33 days (12 July to 14 August), resulted in:

- 1,187 dead, among whom 35% are children,

- Over 4.092 injured,

- Around one million displaced, mainly from the South of Lebanon, the southern suburbs of Beirut and the Bekaa,

- 182 additional casualties, as of 13 December 2006, caused by landmines and unexploded cluster bombs dropped in the South of Lebanon.

The conflict als- resulted in extreme damage to the civil infrastructure:

- Approximately 8,475 housing units destroyed,

- 46,143 housing units badly damaged,

- 612 public schools totally or partially destroyed or damaged,

- 97 bridges destroyed,

- Destruction and damage to the civil infrastructure, the water and waste water distribution system, the electricity distribution network, roads, hospitals and health centers.

A joint WHO-MOPH health assessment done during the first week after cessation of hostilities showed that 32% of the health facilities in the South, Baalbeck, Hermel, and southern Beirut were not capable or partially capable of providing health services to the population including the returning Internally Displaced Populations (IDPs).

All of these factors, in addition to the continuing threat of the military actions, the difficulty in the mobility caused by shortage of fuel, as well as the rapid and sudden return of the estimated one million displaced persons, interfered with the adequate implementation of the Emergency and Relief interventions initially. However, the WHO interventions were implemented and pertained to four strategic tasks as follows:

1. Coordination of Health Response

2. Assessment and Monitoring

3. Filling Health Gaps

4. Support to Health Systems