IDPs in South Lebanon to receive aid

"I and many other Lebanese are cautiously optimistic that the ceasefire will hold together,” said Tony Matar, World Vision Lebanon operations director. "And if it does, God willing, we will finally have the opportunity to step up our relief efforts in a very significant way throughout the country. An urgent priority is to assist many of the 100,000 people in southern Lebanon who have become increasingly isolated by conflict, and well beyond our reach over the last three weeks.”

Matar said that his office expects to join a World Food Programme (WFP)-led convoy to deliver diesel fuel and at least one basic food comodity to more than 10,000 displaced people in southern Lebanon, hopefully within the next 48 hours, security permitting. In addition, a relief shipment carrying water purification units, water containers and hygiene kits for World Vision docked in Beirut on Sunday 13 August. The WFP-chartered ship contains US$300,000 of relief supplies for distribution by World Vision to about 45,000 people in Beirut and southern Lebanon.

World Vision Lebanon plans to expand relief operations in all 12 areas of the country where it has been working for most of the past month. The office is monitoring movements of people returning to their original communities. Thousands of IDPs began heading south from Beirut within hours of the ceasefire.

Matar said that the first convoy might get as far as Rmeish village in the deep south, adjacent to the Lebanon-Israel border, where an estimated 7,500 people have been inaccessible until now due to heavy fighting, extensive infrastructure damage, and an Israeli military ban on movements of large vehicles.

“We plan to serve a minimum of 40,000 people over the next two weeks, with the hope of reaching a great many more if a secure humanitarian corridor can be established," Matar added. "This is also contingent on having the security and resources required to sustain and build on such an effort.

Initially we will deliver water, hygiene kits and food commodities, while expanding our child-focused programming and protection, including psychosocial activities and child friendly spaces," he said.