OCHA: Unexploded ordnances the most urgent threat

Lebanese rescue workers retrieve and bury the body of a woman killed during the war in the southern Lebanese town of Marjaoun, 25 August 2006. (MaanImages/Payam Borazjani)

Lebanon response OCHA situation report No. 33

Situation overview

1. The Government of Lebanon’s (GOL) Higher Relief Council (HRC) reports to date that 1,187 Lebanese have been killed and approximately 4,060 injured.

UXOs and mine clearance

2. Unexploded ordnances, particularly cluster munitions, remains the most urgent threat to the beneficiaries and humanitarian workers. 12 people have been killed and 51 wounded by UXO and cluster bombs since 14 August. The Mine Action Coordination Centre has thus far 249 strike locations, a figure which is expected to rise.

3. Demining activities are ongoing by the Lebanese army in Nabatieh, clearing residential areas such as Zawtar and by UNMACC in Yohmor, Smayieh, Ras Al Ain, Tebnine and Aita Al Jabal in South Lebanon. UNMACC is conducting daily mine awareness workshops for humanitarian aid staff.


4. According to the GoL, the conflict has also resulted in $3.6 billion worth of physical damage with 80 bridges destroyed along with 600 km of roads, 900 factories, markets, farms and other commercial buildings, 31 airports, ports, water- and sewage-treatment plants, dams and electrical plants and 25 fuel stations. 15,000 home/apartments estimated completely destroyed, a quarter of them in the crowded southern suburbs of Beirut. According to NGOs some 45,000 houses were damaged. Entire villages in the south reduced to rubble.


5. The situation remained generally calm in the UNIFIL Area of Operation (AO) over the past 24 hours despite ground violations by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). UNIFIL continued intensive ground and air patrolling throughout its area of operation to assess the situation on the ground and to monitor the cessation of hostilities.


6. WHO health assessments are currently being conducted in Bekaa valley and Southern Beirut. Baalbek will follow as soon as security allows, as well as the less affected areas in Lebanon.

7. Preliminary results of a WHO health facility assessment show that 50 to 70 per cent of primary health facilities in Bint Jbeil and Marjayoun have been completely destroyed.

8. Additional field assessments in the Bekaa valley report extensive damage in Baalbek, mainly in the city and surrounding villages of Britel and Nabi Chit. In total, 14 population centres suffered extensive destruction. Over 4,000 people have been left homeless, and more than 1,850 families remain without water.

9. On 23 August, UN assessment teams visited the villages of Beit Lif, Yater and Sidiqqin, where they reported massive destruction; Beit Lif is in particular need for drinking water and hygiene kits. In Yater (almost half of which has been destroyed) assets such as blankets, mats and kitchen sets are needed which will be provided by UNHCR. In Sidiqqin, the main urgency is the clearance of tobacco fields from cluster bombs and UXOs, since cultivation of tobacco is the main source of income.

10. According to IOM, provisional results of the Rapid Appraisal Procedure Assessment on short and mid-term psychological needs confirm that the affected Lebanese population suffers from typical war related stress such as security issues, breakdown of social structure, experience of psychic violence, etc.

Humanitarian Response


11. Overland humanitarian convoys today:

  • Beirut to Faouqa (via Nabatiye) — 9 World Food Programme (WFP) trucks with wheat flour, canned meat, vegetable oil, high-energy biscuits, lentils, pasta and canned vegetables
  • Beirut to Qabrikha and Meiss El-Jabal (via Tyre) — 4 WFP trucks to Qabrikha and 8 WFP trucks to Meiss El-Jabal with wheat flour, high-energy biscuits, canned meat and canned vegetables
  • Beirut to Tyre, Hanine, and Beit Leif — 2 United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) trucks to Tyre, 2 to Hanine and 1 to Beit Leif carrying a total of 60,000 litres of drinking water.

    12. Cluster activities continue to focus on the increase in the number of ships and convoys carrying humanitarian cargo on behalf of the whole humanitarian community.

    Water and sanitation

    13. The ICRC reports that the destruction of water distribution pipes remains the most significant challenge to water supply restoration. Although all water pumping stations remain intact, ICRC reports damage to transformers, generators, reservoirs, and pumps. Fuel and electricity shortages are also hindering pumping capacity.

    14. UNICEF is delivering 60,000 gallons of bottled water to communities in South Lebanon. Additionally, 27 collapsible water tanks and 3,200 hygiene kits have been distributed. UNICEF is also supporting the Beirut and Mount Lebanon Water Authorities in the repair water supply facilities in Saida and Ayta Al Jabbal, with around 95,000 inhabitants using these water supply systems.

    15. A formal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is being finalised between UNICEF and the South Lebanon Water Authorities to assist the latter to carry out repair works to various elements of water supply infrastructure, such as boosting stations, boreholes and wells, outlet and inlet pipes, trunk pipelines, distribution network and storage tanks.

    16. In the meantime, regular bottled water supplies continue, with 12,000 liters sent today to Rashayeh and Beit Liif, and 24,000 liters to each of Hannine and Tyre.

    17. UNIFIL distributed 53,000 liters of drinking water to villages of Meiss El Jebel, El Khiam, Houle Ebel Es Saqi, Al Duhayra, Yarin, Tibnin hospital, Alma Achaab, Kafra, Haddathah, Al Hinniyah. UNIFIL provided local people of Mashta Al Izziyah generator for water pumping.

    Health and nutrition

    18. A Health Cluster coordination meeting was held today with the participation of 30 health partners. It was emphasized that the majority of the health partners have now moved their activities and offices to the South, where further health coordination meetings are organized in Tyre.

    19. WHO reports from the 202 health centers and hospitals that were covered by a recent health facilities damage assessment, 83% are not functioning in Bent Jbeil and Marjayoun.

    20. As part of the Early Warning and Response System (EWARS), one case of suspected measles was reported from Bent Jbeil among an 8 month-old-child. Case investigation is ongoing to verify the diagnosis.

    21. Two studies are under preparation by the American University of Beirut and Balamand university focusing on special needs groups in emergencies. One study will concentrate on the difficult access of elderly and disabled to primary health care centres and the possibility of outreach services. It is estimated that 7.5% of the total population is either over 65 years of age or physically impaired, demonstrating the urgent need for special attention.

    22. UNFPA reproductive health kits for up to 18,000 women, approximately 950 clean delivery kits, and 4,500 hygiene kits were dispatched to NGOs in Marjayoun, Srifa, Ayta el Chaeb, Tebnine, and Southern Beirut.

    23. IMC is distributing medicines and disposals to affected hospitals in Hasbaiya (near Nabatieh), Marjayoun and Bent Jbeil.

    24. MSF-Belgium remains active in South Lebanon and is currently providing medication for chronic diseases and other essential drugs as well as surgical equipment to Bent Jbeil and Tebnine.

    25. From 12 July to 24 August, the Lebanese Red Cross Society transported 986 persons needing treatment for war-related reasons as well 8,239 other medical cases. It also removed 402 bodies.

    Food and Non-Food Items (NFls)

    26. WFP has provided 3,235 metric tonnes of food to 582,000 Lebanese since 23 July: 431,000 people within Lebanon and 151,000 returnees. In the 11 days since the cessation of hostilities, WFP has dispatched 1,740 MT of food compared to 1,495 MT in the 20 days from 25 July to 14 August. Most of those assisted have received a two-week ration of wheat flour or bread, canned meat, high-energy biscuits and vegetable oil. Rations will continue to be provided as needed.

    27. On 22 and 23 August, the ICRC delivered more than 12,600 litres of fuel for generators in El Mansouri, El Majdel Zoun, Zebqin and Jbeil el Botom, as well as for the Wadi Jilo pumping station. The organization is also providing spare parts to the local authorities and is helping finance repair teams.

    28. In preparation for the extensive assistance that will be needed in the coming months, UNHCR is pre-positioning supplies in the southern cities of Tyre and Sidon, moving them down from Beirut. UNHCR supplies continue to arrive in Beirut by air, sea and road.

    29. UNHCR in Syria is dispatching nearly 150 tonnes of supplies to Beirut this week, including 40,000 blankets.

    30. In response to requests for rebuilding assistance, UNHCR is preparing emergency repair tool kits that include plastic sheeting, plywood, corrugated metal sheets, wood, as well as basic tools such as hammers, nails, a shovel, etc. The longer-term plans on rebuilding will follow.


    31. The Protection cluster Strategy Paper, specifically the section on child protection, has been revised to be more holistic and better reflect information that has been received from recent visits or recent updates; this has included raising the issues of vulnerable children at risk of increased discriminatory practice, the impoverishment of families who have lost their breadwinner or main source of income and the effects this will have on the rights of children, and the ultimate need to involve young persons in the relief, reconstruction and recovery efforts.


    32. The US $165 million FA launched on 24 July is now 57% funded with contributions receiving totaling just over US $94.1 million. The Flash Appeal for Lebanon is now 57% funded. An additional US $6.7 million in pledges have also been placed against the Appeal.

    33. With the GoL increasingly leading the response process, a new appeal will be launched next week. Some of the funds already raised to be reprogrammed for priority needs. The revised FA will focus on clearance of mines and unexploded bombs, emergency health and education needs and water and sanitation. The UN is currently revising the Flash Appeal to change its focus from addressing the humanitarian needs during the conflict to the post-conflict humanitarian priorities and activities. The period of the appeal will remain up to 24 October 2006.

    Related Links