Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Children Still Caught in Crossfire at Refugee Camp in Lebanon

Source: International Save the Children Alliance

"Beirut, Lebanon (June 5, 2007) -- As the crisis at the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp near Tripoli enters its third week, several thousand children and family members remain trapped inside the camp, caught in the middle of a continuing conflict between the Lebanese army and the armed faction Fatah al-Islam.

Lack of drinking water, food, medicine, health services and safe areas for children are putting many children and family members inside the camp at risk, according to Save the Children's partners working at the Nahr Al Bared camp.

Providing critical protection for children also remains a major concern, with periodic shelling, gunfire and snipers posing a serious threat to children.

Since the fighting erupted on May 20, at least 27 civilians have been killed and 125 injured, including at least 30 children, according to Save the Children's partners. With the crisis still evolving, these estimates are likely to rise.

Heavy shelling also has damaged or destroyed hundreds of buildings inside the camp including homes, schools, businesses and community centers.......

The Save the Children Alliance is calling for:

* Both sides to refrain from any means or methods of attack that cannot discriminate between military targets and civilians, particularly children.
* A safe passage that allows humanitarian agencies access to the camp and civilians to leave.
* The Lebanese authorities to work with the international community and the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to improve overall living conditions in Palestinian refugee camps. This includes housing, infrastructure, health, education and employment opportunities, all of which have worsened as a result of the current outbreak of violence

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