Lebanon + 1 more

Lebanon- ICRC Bulletin No. 3 / 2007

General situation

Civilians remaining inside Nahr el-Bared camp are a source of deep concern for the ICRC. The volatile truce in the camp has been broken by sporadic skirmishes in which mortar rounds and rocket-propelled grenades have been fired.

Exchanges of gunfire occur mostly at night. A Lebanese soldier was killed in heavy clashes between the army and Fatah al-Islam on Monday night, raising to more than 30 the number of Lebanese army personnel killed since fighting broke out on 20 May.

Humanitarian activities in the camp have been put at risk by the fighting, and the ICRC has reiterated its appeal for safe access in order to provide urgent medical and other humanitarian aid for the residents.

Demonstrations were staged in the nearby Beddawi camp in support of the civilians who remain trapped in Nahr el-Bared.

Fresh aid delivery to Nahr el-Bared

The ICRC is focusing on Nahr el-Bared camp, where it is today delivering 800 hygiene kits and 20,000 litres of bottled water.

On 30 May, the ICRC delivered 11 tonnes of food and 20,000 litres of bottled water to Nahr el-Bared. It also provided 40,000 candles for the camp, where power facilities sustained heavy damage and electricity has been cut off since the first days of the fighting. The aid has been distributed by the Palestine Red Crescent Society, which is the only humanitarian organization that has entered the camp on a daily basis since the outbreak of the fighting 10 days ago.

According to ICRC delegate Igor Ramazotti, speaking from the camp, "the aid operation has been proceeding smoothly, thanks in particular to the fact that the Palestine Red Crescent and the ICRC are well accepted by all involved in the fighting. Our Palestine Red Crescent partners are very efficient at securing the entry of aid convoys to the besieged camp."

Monitoring the situation in Beddawi camp and Tripoli

ICRC engineers examined access to water and the extent of its availability in Beddawi in preparation for possible water distributions and other aid in the camp. The majority of those displaced from Nahr el-Bared are now in Beddawi.

In Tripoli, an ICRC team monitored the food distributions carried out in recent days and estimated future needs.

Preparing for water trucking

Some eight kilometers from Nahr el-Bared, ICRC engineers have completed the platform for a generator required to retrieve water from Nabi Yousha well, which the ICRC had previously equipped with a pump.

The well's water will be trucked to Nahr el-Bared, replacing current deliveries of bottled water, as soon as security conditions inside the camp improve.

An old woman's story

Leila (not her real name), an elderly, pious woman, fled Nahr el-Bared camp last Tuesday night after bombs destroyed her house. All of her five married children and their families are now living with the family of one of her daughters, a resident of Beddawi camp. This means that over 30 family members are now crowding into an apartment that previously housed a family of five.

In spite of the hardships she endured, material aid is not Leila's priority. "I don't want any help, the only thing I want is to return to my house in Nahr el-Bared camp," she said. "That is my home. That is where I was raised, bore my children and got them married; I don't want to live anywhere else."

Leila speaks for most Palestinian refugees who fled Nahr el-Bared. Their dream is to return to their "beloved" camp, even if it was crowded and dusty!

Humanitarian coordination

The ICRC is working closely with the Lebanese Red Cross Society, the Palestine Red Crescent Society and other members of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

By 30 May, the ICRC, Lebanese Red Cross and Palestine Red Crescent had distributed in Beddawi and Nahr el-Bared camps:

- 95 tonnes of ready-to-eat meals (70 tonnes in Beddawi and 25 in Nahr el-Bared)

- 77,000 litres of bottled drinking water in Nahr el-Bared

- 5 tonnes of bread in Nahr el-Bared

-44,000 candles in Nahr el-Bared

Food parcels, hygiene kits and blankets were distributed to displaced refugees from Nahr el-Bared in five Palestinian camps in Saida and Tyr and in two Palestinian camps in the BekaaValley, and to displaced people in private homes in Akkar.

From 20 May to 29 May, in cooperation with the ICRC, the Lebanese Red Cross and Palestine Red Crescent transported 85 wounded people, 36 corpses and 31 sick people. In addition, they transferred 474 civilians from the entrance to Nahr el-Bared and escorted 27 convoys of humanitarian aid.

The ICRC and its Movement partners work in close cooperation with UNRWA and other UN agencies.

For further information, please contact:

Dorothea Krimitsas, ICRC Geneva, tel +41 22 730 25 90 or +41 79 251 93 18
Virginia de la Guardia, ICRC Beirut, tel. +961 1 739 297/8/9 or +961 70 12 98 69
or visit its website: www.icrc.org