ACT member delivers supplies to village in south of Lebanon

From NY Times

Photo From NY Times. It serves to illustrate the destruction in Lebanon. Not so much the story.

ACT News Update, Lebanon 10/06: ACT member delivers supplies to villages in south of Lebanon Geneva, August 24, 2006-The United Nations estimates that a quarter of a million individuals, forced from their homes by fighting between Hezbollah and Israel, have already returned to their homes in the south of Lebanon. Although the return began soon after the fighting ceased, the humanitarian crisis is not over, as residents try to resume their lives in areas ravaged by days of heavy bombing. International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), a U.S.-based member of the global alliance Action by Churches Together (ACT) International, has been addressing the humanitarian needs arising from the displacements.

IOCC’s office in Lebanon has sent food and hygiene parcels and canned milk and diapers to families in the village of Marjeyoun, south of the Litani River, where the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon and Lebanese army soldiers have begun to take over. Needs are also being assessed in nearby villages where Israel’s defence forces continue to have a presence. Nearly US$100,000 worth of antibiotics, surgical supplies and other critically needed medicines, sent by IOCC, has arrived in Beirut. The supplies will help an estimated 20,000 patients for the next three months. St. George Orthodox Hospital in Beirut has received half the supplies, and the other half will be divided among five hospitals, four of which are located in Beirut’s hard-hit southern suburbs, and one in Sidon. IOCC has just completed providing assistance to 892 displaced families – about 5,000 individuals – who had taken refuge in the public schools in the mountain villages surrounding Beirut. Food and hygiene parcels sustained families for one month until the cease-fire went into affect on August 14. Almost all of these families have returned to their homes in the south.

IOCC staff in Lebanon are coordinating efforts with the Middle East Council of Churches, also an ACT member, as well as the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the Orthodox church in each village or area where IOCC distribution of supplies is taking place.IOCC will be included, along with MECC, in the upcoming ACT appeal for the alliance’s response in Lebanon. A preliminary appeal for US$4.6 million to enable MECC’s Inter-church Network for Development in Lebanon to respond to humanitarian needs during the fighting was issued on July 27. ACT member Norwegian Church Aid has been supporting MECC in its initial response in the area of water and sanitation. The preliminary appeal is being revised to enable MECC and IOCC to address the needs of returning residents. The ACT Coordinating Office in Geneva expects to issue the revised appeal soon. IOCC has been active in Lebanon since 2001, where it has been implementing a nutrition and infrastructure-repair program in more than 250 public schools throughout the country. This development program became the platform for IOCC’s emergency response when the recent crisis broke out in July. (ends)

HT: Reuters AlertNet

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