Thursday, June 7, 2007

LEBANON: Unexploded ordnance hampering aid deliveries to refugees

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

"BEIRUT, 7 June 2007 (IRIN) - Unexploded ordnance and booby-trapped buildings are hindering an already highly restricted relief effort trying to provide vital food and water and evacuate the injured from the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in north Lebanon. Up to 8,000 people remain caught in a deadly stand-off there between the military and Islamist militants.

It is becoming extremely difficult to mount relief operations, not only because of the deteriorating security conditions, but also because debris, rubble
and unexploded ordnance on the camp's roads are obstructing the way for ambulances and relief vehicles,” said Jordi Raich Curco, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) head of delegation in Lebanon
, in a statement......

The Palestine Red Crescent (PRC) remains the only emergency service entering the camp, both due to lack of security guarantees and because rubble and the winding alleys of the camp make access practical only for smaller vehicles.

First ICRC delivery in a week

The ICRC through the PRC on 7 June made its first delivery of water and food into the camp for a week, providing 800 litres of bottled water, one and half tones of bread and some fifty boxes of tinned tuna and soup.......

Since 3 June the PRC and Lebanese Red Cross have evacuated 72 vulnerable people from Nahr al-Bared, including pregnant women, children and the elderly. Only a few were injured......

The US has dispatched several military cargo planes from its bases in the region to Beirut over the past two weeks carrying ammunition and other undisclosed equipment to re-supply the Lebanese army, part of a hugely increased $280m US military aid package to Lebanon......"

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