Coordination Activities in the Field
|Income from Voluntary Contributions1||3,232,705|
|Consultant Fees and Travel||190,002|
|Supplies, Materials, Furniture and Equipment||143,765|
|Fellowships, Grants and Contributions||–|
|Programme Support Costs||160,027|
|Total Expenditure (US$)||1,278,979|
From 12 July to 14 August, a major military confrontation took place between Israel and Hezbollah. Sustained, heavy shelling and air strikes caused widespread destruction of the Lebanon’s public infrastructure, including hospitals, schools and road networks, preventing the humanitarian community from accessing vulnerable populations and civilians fleeing war-affected areas. While many international agencies were aware of regional tensions, the scale and intensity of the crisis in Lebanon was not anticipated. Prior to the conflict, most agency or interagency contingency plans had not been updated for some time – if they existed at all.
As a result of the targeting and damage to infrastructure, an estimated 1 million people had fled their homes by 26 July. Of the 735,000 internally displaced, around 600,000 stayed with host families or sheltered in public buildings, while around 230,000 people fled to Syria, Cyprus, Jordan and the Gulf countries. The long-term impact of the destruction of parts of Lebanon’s infrastructure is enormous and it is estimated that it will cost around US$ 3.5 billion to rebuild.
OCHA established short-term emergency response hubs in Beirut, Tyre and Sidon and provided support for civil–military coordination with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in the south (Naqoura). OCHA provided logistical support from a hub in Cyprus, and undertook Lebanon-related information management, coordination and contingency planning support to the RC and UNCT in Damascus.
On 20 July, OCHA deployed a three-person team following a request for support from the RC in Lebanon. By 30 July, the Emergency Relief Coordinator (ERC) had deployed an HC to set up and coordinate an IASC-CT during the emergency phase. Over the following weeks, the OCHA team expanded to 22 in total and it deployed one person to UNIFIL south of the Litani River. During the conflict, OCHA, under guidance from the HC, decentralized much of its presence to Tyre (including the establishment of an HIC) which was closer to the most urgent humanitarian needs.
Throughout the crisis, the HC and ERC sent key advocacy messages about the situation to the public. Clear messages and high-level statements against the use of disproportionate force were given by OCHA senior management in the field and at headquarters. Reports and analysis supporting advocacy and programming were published, and a workshop was convened with local academics and research institutes on issues such as the humanitarian impact of cluster munitions, the humanitarian and socio-economic impact of Israel’s blockade, and local perceptions of aid.
The cluster system was established in priority sectors in Lebanon, with representatives of partner organizations and United Nations agencies collaborating on identifying needs and filling gaps in service. Within the first week of conflict a flash appeal was issued, with cluster leads actively taking up their responsibilities in working with relevant parts of the government, and national and international NGOs.
The original flash appeal for Lebanon was launched for US$ 155 million, of which US$ 87.9 million was funded within six weeks (including US$ 5 million from the CERF). A rigorous prioritization process was conducted after six weeks (and the conclusion of hostilities) and the flash appeal was revised downwards – a move that was greatly appreciated by donors and the government. An interim humanitarian report on the progress of the flash appeal was issued seven weeks after the initial appeal launch, providing reassurance to the host government that expenditure was being carefully tracked and indicating to donors that an overall monitoring system was in place.
OCHA organized an After Action Review in Beirut which was attended by the RC, country heads of agencies, cluster leads, the Red Cross Movement and NGOs. Before the OCHA office in Lebanon was closed, an inter-agency contingency planning process was undertaken which incorporated lessons learned from the response to the crisis. The process was taken forward by OCHA’s regional office in collaboration with the RC, and an inter-agency contingency plan is now in place.