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Lebanon: Palestine Red Crescent Society - Refugees in Nar al-Bared Camp DREF Bulletin no. MDRPS002

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The Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. It is the world's largest humanitarian organization and its millions of volunteers are active in 185 countries.

In Brief

This DREF Bulletin is being issued based on the situation described below reflecting the information available at this time. CHF 67,597 (USD 55,164 or EUR 41,064) was allocated from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to respond to the needs in this operation, or to replenish disaster preparedness stocks distributed to the affected population. This operation is expected to be implemented over 3 months, and will be completed by 30 August 2007; a Final Report will be made available three months after the end of the operation (by 30 November 2007). Unearmarked funds to repay DREF are encouraged.

This operation is aligned with the International Federation's Global Agenda, which sets out four broad goals to meet the Federation's mission to "improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity."

Global Agenda Goals:

- Reduce the numbers of deaths, injuries and impact from disasters.

- Reduce the number of deaths, illnesses and impact from diseases and public health emergencies.

- Increase local community, civil society and Red Cross Red Crescent capacity to address the most urgent situations of vulnerability.

- Reduce intolerance, discrimination and social exclusion and promote respect for diversity and human dignity.

Background and current situation

On Sunday morning, 20 May 2007, clashes erupted between the Lebanese Armed Forces and an armed group inside the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr Al-Bared in the northern city of Tripoli in Lebanon. Around 40,000 Palestinian refugees, who for decades have lived in the camp, were caught up in the fighting, and for days were not able to move out of the conflict area. The clashes resulted in considerable casualties and injured, among them a number of civilians. As some shorter intervals of relative calm have recently been seen, thousands of the refugees were allowed to move out of the camp through checkpoints established by the Lebanese army. The majority of these refugees have sought refuge inside the Beddawi Palestinian refugee camp located outside the city of Tripoli.

In line with the agreement between the Lebanese Government and the Palestinian Authority, those living inside the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon are under the protection of United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and the Palestinian Government. The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS), having been mandated by its authorities to provide health and care services to the refugees through its present structure in Lebanon (PRCS/L), is therefore the one representing the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement inside all Palestinian refugee camps in the country through its network of five hospitals, nine health care centres and other programmes.

Red Cross and Red Crescent action

CHF 67,597 (USD 55,164 or EUR 41,064) was allocated from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the National Societies in delivering humanitarian assistance to the affected population. In close cooperation with the Lebanese Red Cross (LRCS), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation in Lebanon, the PRCS/L has been operating throughout the crisis in the camp by treating wounded people at the PRCS health clinic. The society has also established the PRCS/Fathi Arafat Centre (field hospital) in a mosque inside the Nahr Al-Bared camp, which is operated by three PRCS doctors and 11 PRCS nurses, who live in the camp. For seriously wounded and sick people in need of hospital care, the PRCS/L is transporting those out of the camp to LRCS ambulances waiting at the entrance, who transport the patients to the PRCS Safad Hospital at Beddawi refugee camp. In cooperation with the ICRC, PRCS/L has also provided food and non food items to the refugees. PRCS health personnel and volunteers from other Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon are taking part in the operation.

The PRCS Safad Hospital in Beddawi camp is receiving a large number of patients every day, and in total more than 500 have been receiving health care treatment, of whom more than 70 have been admitted to the hospital. The intervention by PRCS/L is to a great extent stretching the capacity of the health personnel and medical supplies to the limit. The hospital is even short of some medical equipment to be able to deal with this big influx of patients over such short period of time.

By receiving thousands of new refugees into the Beddawi camp, which already had more than 15,000 refugees, the camp is overstretched with a lack of shelter, sanitation network, health and other services. The PRCS/L is strengthening its health care services in the camp as well as distributing hygiene kits and other non food items.

Coordination

All Red Cross Red Crescent Movement partners are benefiting from excellent coordination of the Movement. Good dialogue is also established with UNRWA and other humanitarian actors operating in the area meeting humanitarian needs.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

In Lebanon: Dr. Mohammed Osman, Secretary General, Palestine Red Crescent Society Lebanon; email: prcs@cyberia.net.lb; phone: +961 1 834 790; mobile: +961 3 232 855

In occupied Palestinian territory: Ola Skuterud, Federation Representative; email: ola.skuterud@ifrc.org; phone: +972 2 242 0485; mobile: +972 542 149596

In Geneva: Mr Evgeni Parfenov, Federation Regional Officer, MENA Department, Geneva; email: evgeni.parfenov@ifrc.org; phone 41.22.730.43.25; fax 41.22.733.03.95;

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO's) in Disaster Relief and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (Sphere) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

For longer-term programmes in this or other countries or regions, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for national society profiles, please also access the Federation's website at http://www.ifrc.org