The UN ReliefWeb has a lot of information about the situation in Lebanon, including annotated maps that help to understand the on the ground situation.
Lebanon Humanitarian Emergency: USG Humanitarian Situation Report #5 (FY) 2006
Note: The last situation report was dated July 30, 2006.
On July 31, following an attack on the southern Lebanese village of Qana in which more than 50 people died, the Government of Israel (GOI) pledged to conditionally suspend air attacks for 48 hours to allow relief convoys to travel to the south and enable civilian populations to evacuate. The suspension reportedly began at 0200 local time on July 31.
The U.S. Government (USG) Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) has held consultations with international organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and donor counterparts to make initial determinations of needs. Discussions with partners indicate that top priorities include potable water and adequate sanitation for displaced populations living in public buildings such as schools; relief commodities, particularly bedding, shelter materials, and hygiene kits; medical supplies and pharmaceuticals; and food for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and host families.
Ongoing insecurity in Lebanon continues to prevent relief agencies from accurately assessing the growing number of people affected. As of July 31, the Government of LebanonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s (GOL) Higher Relief Council (HRC) reported that 784 people have been killed and 3,240 people have been injured. HRC reports that 913,760 people, or one-fourth of LebanonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s population, have fled their homes. Most displaced are located in South Beirut, Tyre (Sur), Sidon (Saida), Chouf, and Aaley. Although many IDPs are staying with relatives and friends, an estimated 122,000 are located in schools and public institutions in Lebanon, and 210,000 have fled to neighboring countries, including 150,000 to Syria.
Many residents remain trapped in their communities by ongoing military operations and are afraid to leave their current shelter to travel on open roads, according to U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
On July 31, the DART met with the emergency coordinator for U.N. World Food Program (WFP) in Beirut. WFP estimates that the population in need of food aid will increase in the near future from 260,000 to between 400,000 and 500,000. Distributions of canned meat have been welcome, and WFP aims to distribute canned fish as well as grain. Distribution of uncooked food remains problematic due to the lack of cooking facilities in most IDP concentration areas.
Humanitarian Needs and Response
Medical teams from the U.N. Interim Mission in Lebanon (UNIFIL) provided medical and humanitarian assistance to the local population of Qana and to the victims of attacks. UNIFIL is also assisting in clearing debris.
International Medical Corps (IMC) continues to work at Jdaide on the Lebanon-Syria border, where Palestinian refugees are attempting to flee Lebanon daily, according to OCHA. In the Tyre area, IMC continues to support the Hiram Hospital and 4 refugee camps that provide shelter for 40,000 Palestinian refugees and 30,000 Lebanese IDPs.
The U.N. World Health Organization (WHO) is investigating reports of diarrhea cases from schools sheltering IDPs, and notes that chlorine tablets and hygiene education remain urgent needs. WHO is sending 7,500 dialysis filters to the Ministry of Health and is working to supply antiretroviral drugs for approximately 200 HIV/AIDS patients in Beirut.
To date the U.N. ChildrenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Fund (UNICEF) has provided 45 water tanks (5,000 liters capacity) in Beirut, Aaley, and Chouf, serving the needs of an estimated 20,000 people. UNICEF has also provided recreational kits for nearly 35,000 children in schools or centers occupied by IDPs.
The U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) is operating a total of 23 IDP shelters in its schools in Tyre, Saida, South Beirut, and Tripoli; these shelters currently house 2,655 displaced persons. Since July 22, thousands of Palestinian refugees, and Lebanese IDPs co-located with them, have fled from several camps, including Wavel, Rashidieh, and El Buss; the whereabouts of most of these refugees is unknown.
The U.N. Environment Program (UNEP) continues to monitor the effects of an oil spill caused by an earlier air strike on the Jiyyeh power utility, 30 km south of Beirut. According to OCHA, the slick is affecting up to 80 km of Lebanese coastline and may threaten the Syrian coast. UNEP is forming a team to assist with clean-up activities as security allows.
The U.N. Development Program (UNDP) is supporting HRC. Seven UNDP staff members are working on management and coordination issues between HRC and U.N. agencies. According to OCHA, UNDP is providing similar support to local authorities in the Chouf, Aaley, and Babda areas south of Beirut, as well as in Tyre in southern Lebanon.
OCHA reports that an assessment team from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is scheduled to travel to southern Lebanon to evaluate the needs of IDPs and evacuate stranded third-country nationals. IOM evacuated 2,000 stranded migrants from Lebanon in the past week.
Emergency Relief Supplies
Despite limited improvements in access to the south, humanitarian agencies continue to lack consistent, safe access to affected populations. Two convoys to southern Lebanon were cancelled on July 30 due to insecurity. According to WFP, the cancellation marked a setback for all aid convoy operations. Southern Lebanese continue to lack basic necessities such as food, water, and medicines, and WFP reports that some villages in southern Lebanon have received almost no assistance due to continued conflict.
On July 31, two U.N. convoys departed Beirut for Tyre and Qana, the village where Israeli bombs killed more than 50 people on July 30. According to international media sources, WFP reports that nine trucks are delivering aid for Palestinian refugees in Tyre and six trucks are transporting food and medical supplies to Qana. Following completion of todayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s convoys, six U.N. convoys will have delivered aid to southern Lebanon since July 26. WFP is planning an additional convoy for Bint Jbail on August 1. The U.N. expects to have convoys depart for southern Lebanon every two days, according to WFP. As of July 31, WFP reports that U.N. convoys have resumed travel on the Arida-Beirut corridor, following the diversion of trucks to Tripoli during insecurity in Lebanon on July 30.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has successfully delivered two trucks of food aid and medical supplies to villages northeast of Tyre, including Bazouriyeh, 10 km east of Tyre, and the villages of Jouaiya, Ech Chehabiye, and Deir Qanoun en Naher. To date, seven ICRC convoys have delivered aid from Beirut to Tyre. An ICRC freighter delivered food and relief supplies to Beirut and Tyre on July 28 and 30; an additional ship is scheduled for Tyre on July 31, according to ICRC.
WFP is preparing to begin shipping service between Messina (Turkey), Larnaca (Cyprus), and Beirut. Registered NGOs interested in sending personnel and consignments should contact the U.N. According to the DART, the next U.N. vessel is scheduled to depart Cyprus on or about August 4.
The Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) continues to provide assistance to those fleeing from Lebanon to Syria, particularly at four border crossing points. According to the U.S. Department of StateÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (State/PRM), SARC staff and volunteers are providing water, food, and other emergency items, as well as helping refugees to contact family members.