Fierce fighting over the last few days in Ain el-Hilweh, a refugee camp in southern Lebanon, has driven families in the camp to seek refuge in the nearby city of Sidon. The situation in the area continues to be very tense and most shops and schools remain closed.
In the Nahr el-Bared refugee camp, in northern Lebanon, the Lebanese army and Fatah al-Islam have been fighting without interruption for five days now. Heavy weapons and artillery have been widely destructive of infrastructure and houses in the camp. There are reports of unexploded ordnance on the ground. This hazardous litter, besides being a source of continuous danger to persons in the camp, might also obstruct the movement of ambulances and hamper the evacuation of the wounded. Although some residents have fled, others, many of them vulnerable persons, remain.
"We are concerned about the plight of those trapped inside the camp," said Jordi Raich Curco, the ICRC's head of delegation in Lebanon. "Since the fighting began, some two weeks ago, power has been cut off and clean water has become scarce. Furthermore, deteriorating security conditions are making it difficult for medical services to reach those in need of urgent help."
On 1 June, the ICRC once again called on all the parties involved in the conflict to spare civilians not directly participating in the hostilities and to allow medical and humanitarian workers to carry out their tasks and to have unimpeded access to the wounded.
Evacuation of wounded and vulnerable persons from Nahr el-Bared refugee camp
On 5 June, rescue teams from the Palestine Red Crescent Society and the Lebanese Red Cross, in coordination with the ICRC, attempted in vain to evacuate three wounded persons, including one pregnant woman. They were prevented from doing so by the uninterrupted fighting in the area. On 4 June, despite the sharply intensified fighting, they had succeeded in evacuating 19 people from the Nahr el-Bared camp; these included one injured person and two babies. Sixteen people - one injured person and 15 vulnerable persons, among them two children, two elderly people and 11 women (one of them pregnant) - had been evacuated on 3 June.
"It is becoming extremely difficult to mount relief operations, not only because of the deteriorating security conditions, but also because debris and rubble, and unexploded ordnance, on the camp's roads are obstructing the way for ambulances and relief vehicles," said Mr Raich Curco.
Medical assistance, food and water remain the most pressing needs, but displaced persons from Nahr el-Bared who fled to the nearby Beddawi camp, as well as those inside Nahr el-Bared itself, are also increasingly in need of hygiene items.
Emergency relief for persons displaced from Ain el-Hilweh refugee camp
250 families, who were driven by the fighting from their homes in Taamir, near Ain el-Hilweh, to Sidon, received emergency assistance (5 tonnes of food, 150 hygiene kits and 500 blankets) from the ICRC on 4 June.
In addition to their other activities in Ain el-Hilweh, the emergency medical services of the Lebanese Red Cross evacuated one wounded person and transported two corpses.
The ICRC is working closely with the Lebanese Red Cross, the Palestine Red Crescent and other members of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to help those urgently in need of humanitarian assistance.
So far, the aid listed below has been distributed to persons in the Nahr el-Bared and Beddawi camps, as well as to those displaced from Ain el-Hilweh to Sidon:
- 70 tonnes of food in Beddawi, 37 tonnes in Nahr el-Bared and 5 tonnes to those displaced from Ain el-Hilweh to Sidon
- 121,000 litres of drinking water in Nahr el-Bared
- 5 tonnes of bread in Nahr el-Bared
- 44,000 candles in Nahr el-Bared
- 800 hygiene kits in Nahr el-Bared and 150 to persons displaced from Ain el-Hilweh to Sidon
- 500 blankets to persons displaced from Ain el-Hilweh to Sidon
Since 20 May, the Lebanese Red Cross and the Palestine Red Crescent, in cooperation with the ICRC, have:
- Transported 144 wounded and 70 sick persons, as well as 41 corpses
- Escorted 495 civilians from the camp's entrance and provided transportation for them
- Organized 29 humanitarian convoys
The ICRC and its Movement partners work in close cooperation with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency and other United Nations 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 our website: www.icrc.org