Flash Appeal for the Lebanon Crisis 2006
The Flash Appeal for Lebanon seeks a total of 150 million dollars to meet the needs of some 800,000 people over the next three months. Funding for the appeal will enable aid groups to carry out programs to feed, shelter, and protect civilians caught in a cruel conflict. The appeal contains programs that require different levels of funding but are all equally important for ensuring a comprehensive response to emergency needs.
Lebanon is yet again experiencing devastating cycle of violence, with the civilian population caught in the middle. With the conflict now in its second week, the humanitarian situation continues to worsen. Hundreds of people have been killed and more than 1,500 wounded. Moreover, an estimated 700,000 people have fled their homes, including some 150,000 people who have crossed the border into Syria. The conflict has also affected more than 100,000 people from 20 different countries who had been living in Lebanon, a large number of whom require assistance to evacuate. Israel too has suffered numerous casualties. Hezbollah missile attacks in Northern Israel have claimed the lives of dozens of people, with hundreds more having been wounded.
The ongoing Israel Defence Forces (IDF) military operation has caused enormous damage to residential areas and key civilian infrastructure such as power plants, seaports, and fuel depots. Hundreds of bridges and virtually all road networks have been systematically destroyed leaving entire communities in the South inaccessible. This profound damage to traffic arteries will pose a key challenge to Government institutions and humanitarian agencies alike in the weeks to come, particularly in remote areas of the South.
As remaining fuel stocks are increasingly exhausted or targeted by the IDF, fuel shortages in many areas of essential public services could plunge the humanitarian situation to a new low. Skyrocketing prices for basic goods (e.g. the price of sugar has risen by 600%, and cooking gas by 400%) further deplete the coping mechanisms of the Lebanese population, particularly those of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), people under siege, the elderly, and families already living below the poverty line. Economic life has come to a complete standstill with the extreme level of destruction to the basic infrastructure posing a major obstacle to a quick recovery.
The longer the hostilities last, the more dramatic the humanitarian situation will become. Food, water, health, fuel, and other basic needs will increase; so will the number of IDPs. The situation will be further compounded by the ongoing air, sea, and land blockade that is effectively preventing even basic relief supplies from entering the country. The urgent cessation of hostilities, as called for by the Secretary-General, is thus the best way to prevent the humanitarian emergency in Lebanon from spiralling out of control. Until then, it is imperative that all parties to the conflict, in particular the IDF, meet their responsibilities under international humanitarian law and provide full, safe and unhindered access for humanitarian workers and supplies by air, sea, and land in order to allow them to reach vulnerable populations in Lebanon. Effective implementation of the assistance and protection activities outlined in this Appeal is fully dependent on safe and unimpeded passage for humanitarian staff and goods.
Humanitarian agencies have started a robust build-up of emergency coordination systems, virtually from scratch. Following a consultative process within the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), the response is designed along the lines of the cluster approach with designated lead agencies and in close cooperation with the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. Moreover, a Regional Task Force for Deconflicting and Notification with the Israeli authorities has been established, contingency plans have been updated, and a Joint Logistics Centre is planned.
All these efforts are undertaken in close collaboration with and in support of the Lebanese Government and its Higher Relief Council, the main coordinating body for the current humanitarian crisis. Closer cooperation and partnership is also being fostered with the considerable Lebanese NGO and civil society presence (over 6,000 organisations). As a result of this coordination and cooperation at all levels, the priorities listed in this Appeal have been identified to ensure immediate humanitarian action in the clusters of health, food and nutrition, water and sanitation, logistics, protection, shelter, and common services. Hence, the activities in this Appeal will be subject to further review as the crisis develops, depending on improved access for undertaking comprehensive needs assessments.
In addition to the response inside Lebanon, the Government of Syria and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent Society (SARC) have taken a lead role in registering, accommodating and assisting the most vulnerable of the people displaced there from Lebanon. However, they have indicated that their resources and capacity will be exhausted soon and have therefore welcomed the support of the United Nations Agencies and NGOs. Syria is a strategic transit point not only for those fleeing Lebanon to other countries in the region and beyond, but also for the delivery of humanitarian supplies to Lebanon. Therefore the response in Syria will focus on supporting the provision of protection and assistance to all vulnerable populations fleeing the crisis in Lebanon into Syria and operational backstopping of relief operations in Lebanon.
To address the urgent humanitarian concerns of displaced and war-affected populations in Lebanon and Syria, the United Nations and its partner agencies are requesting support for a total of US$155,317,477 to cover an initial period of response of three months, which will be reviewed during the period of the appeal. Given the urgent need for an ongoing revision of available data, the document focuses principally on those areas considered to be of most concern to the civilian population.