OCHA: 100,000 unexploded cluster bomblets in south Lebanon

Israeli cluster bombs, like these ones lying outside Nabatiyeh on 18 August 2006, continue to kill civilians. (Hugh Macleod/IRIN)

Lebanon response OCHA situation report No. 35

Key Developments

MACC reports 100,000 unexploded cluster bomblets

According to the United Nations Mine Action Coordination Cell (UNMACC) on-the-ground assessments, most the Israeli bombing assaults occurred during the last 72 hours of the conflict, during which some 90 per cent of all cluster-bomb strikes occurred. Up to 100,000 unexploded cluster bomblets remain in south Lebanon and must be defused and destroyed.

Situation Overview

1. The Government of Lebanon (GoL) Higher Relief Council (HRC) reports the casualty figures at 1,187 killed and 4,080 injured.

UXO and Demining Activities

2. UNHCR is setting up rubhalls (large work tents) in Tyre and Nabatyeh to support UNMACC activities is dealing with unexploded ordnance. UNHCR has also provided UNMACC with five trucks that will facilitate the work of the teams.

3. As of 29 August, 381 cluster bomb strike locations have been identified and UNMACC teams have destroyed 2,606 sub munitions.

4. The casualty figures as of 29 August from unexploded ordnance rose to 59 people, including 13 killed and 46 injured.

5. According to UNMACC’s on-the-ground assessments, the Israeli aerial and ground assault during the first weeks of the war delivered up to 3,000 bombs, rockets and artillery rounds daily, with the number rising to 6,000 towards the war’s end. MACC assessments show that the most assaults occurred during the last 72 hours of the conflict, during which some 90 per cent of all cluster-bomb strikes occurred. Up to 100,000 unexploded cluster bomblets remain in south Lebanon and must be defused and destroyed.


6. Two aerial surveillance flights, on 28 and 29 August, have been conducted over the oil spill in the Beirut area. Neither flight observed an oil slick but only an oily sheen, which means that an offshore clean-up is probably not warranted. However, significant on-shore clean-up is needed. The need for additional surveillance flights, perhaps with specialized aircraft will be considered in the coming days.

7. The Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit is compiling an advisory for Lebanese authorities on the safe handling of on-shore oil. The advisory will be based on the observations and results of a recent sampling and analysis of the oil spill by a Swiss expert. Partners including UNEP-Chemicals are contributing technically to the advisory.


Humanitarian Hub Update - Tyre

8. Assessments of community needs are on-going and attention is now also focused on monitoring the large volume of food and non-food items already distributed. Clear criteria are needed for secondary distributions. Common and transparent criteria and mechanisms for allocation have been identified as critical by agencies in order to prevent confusion and inequity.

9. WHO made an assessment visit to Nabatiyeh hospital which recently received a supply of WHO medicine and equipment. The hospital is now functioning well and providing comprehensive services.

10. UNICEF water and sanitation specialists participated in the inter-agency assessment mission to Wadi Jilo, Beit Yahoun and Aita Ech Shaab.

11. An inter-agency team, including OCHA, UNICEF and UNHCR, visited Aita Ech Shaab to monitor distribution and provide feedback to clusters.

12. Needs assessments have been completed in three new village — Beit Yahoun, Hadassa and Aita A Jabal/Aita A Zut — by an OCHA, UNICEF and UHCR team.

Humanitarian Hub Update - Saida

13. Initial assessments of a number of newly accessible villages that are located south of Nabatiyeh and Marjayoun, including Qalaiaa, show the need for food and NFIs. There is a serious waste and livestock/dead animals’ disposal problem.

14. UNHCR Saida is currently on an assessment mission to the village of Zahrani and to the Nabatiyeh region. To identify NFI and shelter needs.

15. Saida - based NGOs visited on 29 August, the villages of Taibi, ‘Adaisi, Deir Seryan, Kantara, Kfar kila, Talouse, Rab Tlateen and Markaba in Marjaayoun District. The villagers are requesting drinking water as the water system and electric power have both been destroyed. They also requested use of mobile sewage disposal truck or some other alternative as the sewage pipeline system has been badly damaged.

16. UNHCR Saida visited the villages of Kawthariyat Al Seyyad, Al kfour and Qlaiaa and report that these villages are in need of drinking water, food assistance and non-food items. They have also requested fuel for their generators. To avoid possible duplication in the provision of aid, clusters will await the final assessment report, to be issued in three days or so, before making assistance available.

Further assessments

17. The Lebanese Syndicate of Engineers assessed buildings in Beirut’s southern suburbs, including some 120 buildings that housed approximately 2,000 families. The engineers found:

  • Out of the 120 buildings, 40 need reconstruction, due to an unusual degree of damage.
  • The destruction in Beirut’s southern suburbs includes some 6,000 housing units, in addition to 17,000 units that are damaged. The engineering syndicate indicates it will cost $ 300 to 500 to repair each unit.
  • For each building destroyed in Beirut’s southern suburbs another eight are damaged to some degree.

    18. The final results of an interagency assessment to Beqaa Valley, which took place from 16 to 19 August, have been issued. The mission involved OCHA, UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, and UNRWA, with the purpose of assessing the impact of recent conflict, and to gather preliminary information. Some

    19. 12,500 IDPs were estimated to be remaining in the city and surrounding villages. Most were in private houses and were in the process of returning to South Beirut, Baalbek, and villages in the Southern Beqaa Valley. In Western Beqaa, the mission did not get precise figures, nor in Baalbek and Hermel. The mission made a set of recommendations, including the need to rehabilitate water and sewage facilities, provide health and sanitation kits for women reconstruct dwellings; and refurbish schools.

    20. A Mercy Corps monitoring team visited, on 27 and 28 August, the villages of Aadchit el Qasir and Maifadoun in Nabatiyeh District. Both villages remain without electricity. In Aadchit el Qasir the water pipeline has still has not been repaired with water being delivering via tankering. Local farmers estimate that 50 per cent of their tobacco crops were lost during the war.

    21. On August 27, a Mercy Corps monitoring team visited El Khiam and Aadaisse villages in Marjayoun District. El Khiam remains without electricity or a functioning water delivery system. Mercy Corps is delivering bottled drinking water to the most vulnerable households and supporting the rehabilitation of schools in both El Khiam and Aadaisse. In partnership with the Mayors of El Khiam and Aadaisse and local laborers, Mercy Corps is supporting the removal of debris and clean-up and repair.

    Mercy Corps staff interviewed several families in Upper Nabatiyeh as part of on-going monitoring of food and water targeting and distributions. All those interviewed said the aid Mercy Corps provided was the first they had received and that their need for food would continue until water and electricity were again available.

    22. The Governor of El Metn estimates that the number of IDPs in his area is 6,000, most of whom are from villages in the South. In Kesrouane, the number of remaining IDPs is estimated to be around 5,000. In Jbeil, the latest figure stands at approximately 2,600.

    Humanitarian Response

    Food and NFIs

    23. UNHCR traveled to Marjaayoun on 28 August. The team met with the head of the municipality to assess the situation there and discuss the needs of the returnees and the local residents. Field assessments were also carried out in the village of Qlaiaa near Marjaayoun.

    24. UNHCR distributed from its warehouse in Saida relief supplies for seven municipalities. The goods included: 1,375 blankets, 1,272 mattresses, 219 canvas tents, 176 kitchen sets, 742 plastic sheets and 762 jerry cans.

    25. UNHCR has distributed non-food items to 290 IDPs residing in two community centers in Sidon city. The IDPs, most of whom are women and children, arrived in Saida after the ceasefire. The majority of them are residents of the damaged villages of Aitaroun and Maroun Al Raas. They say they came to Saida because the Israelis continue to occupy their houses. Others are from Bent Jbeil and Eita Shaab and sought refuge in Sidon because their houses were destroyed.

    26. Since the cessation of hostilities, UNHCR convoys have been dispatched to 40 villages in areas of Nabatiyeh and Tyre delivering essential relief assistance including blankets, mattresses, and cooking kits. Some tents have been handed out, upon request, as an emergency measure to help those whose houses have been destroyed or are heavily damaged.

    27. UNHCR turns has been handing over the aid to local officials of the municipalities - either the elected popular committees or the elected mukhtar (district leader). In turn, they often distribute it through volunteers, including students who have come from non-political organizations in Beirut to help in the reconstruction effort.

    Mercy Corps has distributed in recent days to ten villages in Nabatiyeh and Marjayoun, 6,750 litres of bottled drinking water, 383 boxes of diapers, and food rations for 17,103 and to 3,925 beneficiaries in Baalbek, hygiene kits, food boxes, and blankets.


    28. Mercy Corps visited Britel village in Baalbek District, where the mayor reported that all three of the schools in the village had suffered damage and will need repairs before school begins. Mercy Corps has committed to make such repair, which consists principally of broken windows in time for the start of classes on 9 October.

    Water and Sanitation

    29. On 28 and 29 August, Mercy Corps delivered drinking water and food rations to villages in Nabatiyeh and Marjayoun Districts, supplying 7,876 litres of bottled drinking water and food rations for 9,536 beneficiaries in 12 villages.

    30. Mercy Corps replaced the damaged water pump in Baalbek town, providing water delivery capacity of 150 cubic meters per hour. The Mayor of Baalbek reported that the city’s 300,000 cubic litres water reservoir was damaged and that they will require an additional water pump, which Mercy Corps will assess with a local water engineer.

    31. Mercy Corps staff in Baalbek continue to work with a partner in the district, the Lebanese Organization for Social Training. Mercy Corps is finalizing a project in Baalbek for social infrastructure rehabilitation, with an emphasis on schools and water/sanitation repair, in partnership with municipal authorities and other actors in the area.

    Remaining IDP
    32. UNHCR has started coordination with the Ministry of Social Affairs to monitor the situation of IDPs in Mattie and Kailua areas in Alley and Chou.
    33. UNHCR is continuing to verify the numbers of IDPs in Beirut and the North. In Bail, the current number is 2,600, in Kosraean 3,377, and in El Mitten, 6,000. Some 35,000 IDPs have remained in Beirut, according to Caritas estimates, but government authorities have not yet provided UNHCR with a precise figure.


    34. The Lebanese organization “Movement Social” which has activities in Beirut and other parts of the country is planning to conduct a project on psychosocial support for children and their families as well as one for business training and material support.

    Aid Convoys and Shipments

    Truck Convoys


    Flash Appeal

    35. The initial Flash Appeal, launched in July 2006, requested some $155 million for immediate humanitarian assistance. The Flash Appeal has now been revised downward to $98.4 million of which $90 million or 91 per cent has already been funded and $8.6 million remains unfunded. An additional $10.8 million has been received in uncommitted pledges. The Revised Appeal will be presented at the Stockholm Conference on Lebanon starting tomorrow, 31 August.

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