Revision of the Flash Appeal for the Lebanon Crisis 2006
The cessation of hostilities that was so welcomed on 14 August, continues to hold, if somewhat precariously. Lebanon has rebounded with surprising speed from the emergency response phase and now, despite the massive infrastructural damage the country sustained and the effects of the continuing trade blockade imposed by Israel, the Lebanese people are showing their determination to rebuild their lives and livelihoods and the infrastructure that supports it.
In the midst of the conflict, the main thrust of the humanitarian effort was to reach out to the nearly 900,000 civilians – nearly one-quarter of Lebanon’s population – who were fleeing the bombing of their towns and villages. With vehicle movement on roads subject to Israeli aerial attack, the United Nations (UN) was uniquely placed with its logistical capabilities and its contacts with the Israeli authorities to develop a system that enabled UN humanitarian convoys to deliver significant quantities of emergency assistance to the most war-affected areas throughout the duration of the conflict.
A Flash Appeal was launched on 24 July to cover these critical humanitarian activities for three months. In Lebanon, these activities are coordinated through clusters led by UN agencies and partners and delivered via humanitarian hubs located at key entry points to Lebanon along the coast. In Syria, the UN is coordinating its relief activities for Lebanese refugees and asylum-seekers very closely with the Government, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and other partners.
However, since the cessation of hostilities, the humanitarian situation changed dramatically. It is a cause for optimism that more than 90% of Lebanon’s displaced have already headed back home. However, it is a reason for continuing concern that so many returned to find their houses – as well as their community health and educational facilities – badly-damaged or destroyed, with many returnees forced to take up temporary accommodation.
The revision of the Flash Appeal was imperative to respond to a rapidly changing situation. The focus of humanitarian assistance has now turned to short-term initiatives that support returnees and strengthen local capacity to respond to prevailing needs. Humanitarian agencies have so far provided food, water, medicine, blankets, shelter materials, fuel for generators and water pumps to communities that were damaged, as well as to vulnerable populations.
The level of activities that target humanitarian needs under the Flash Appeal are expected to taper off in the coming weeks provided the current situation continues to be stable. Simultaneously, the Government of Lebanon (GoL) has moved ahead with the development of an Early Recovery Process – that is supported by the UN – for the period 31 August – 31 December 2006 and will launch it to the donor community in Stockholm on 31 August. This Plan is designed both to respond with short-term emergency actions as required and to stimulate Lebanon’s economic recovery – the essential catalyst for the country and its people – to get back on track.
By starting the recovery process at the end of August, strong links and effective coordination will continue between ongoing humanitarian efforts contained in the revised Flash Appeal and the recovery process, ensuring no gap in funding or assistance to vulnerable populations.
The initial Flash Appeal launched soon after the commencement of hostilities in July 2006 had requested some US$ 155 million for immediate humanitarian assistance. With the leadership role being played by the Government and the commencement of the early recovery process, the revised Flash Appeal has been reassessed downwards to $96.5 million of which $87.9 million has already been funded. The revision includes only two fully new projects, one of which is to clear unexploded munitions – including thousands of cluster bombs – that heavily contaminate southern areas of Lebanon, while the second is to cover emergency residual needs for Palestinian refugees. The remainder of the United Nations’ activities have now been included as part of the Government-led recovery process.
The Flash Appeal runs until 24 October, with the major portion of project implementation to take place in the coming six weeks. The humanitarian programmes contained in this Appeal have been, and will be, implemented in close consultation with appropriate government ministries to ensure a smooth phasing into the early recovery phase. In the weeks ahead, the humanitarian community will remain vigilant and will retain a residual capacity to respond should any emergency need arise.
Report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the Security Council resolution 1701 (2006).