Over 75 tons of essential medical supplies have been safely transported to Lebanon via sea, following a joint operation between Greenpeace and Medecins Sans Frontieres, in which three voyages were made by the Rainbow Warrior between Larnaca in Cyprus and Beirut. The humanitarian cargos consisted of essential relief equipment, including medical equipment, dialysis material, drugs, hygiene kits and fuel, which was transported on the three shuttle voyages, starting on 2 August and ending today at 0900 when the Rainbow Warrior arrived back in Larnaca.
“We are very happy to have been able to play our part in delivering much needed humanitarian supplies to parts of Lebanon which have become inaccessible due to the current conflict” said Bruno Rebelle, programme director of Greenpeace International. “The crew and volunteers on board the Rainbow Warrior worked tirelessly to load and transport the cargo under difficult conditions, and have completed the missions in a professional and efficient manner.”
At every stage, Greenpeace and MSF ensured through close liaison safe passage for the ship and crew. On each leg of the journey between Larnaca and Beirut the Rainbow Warrior obtained security clearance with the Israeli Defence Force.
“We are very grateful to Greenpeace and the crew and volunteers aboard the Rainbow Warrior. Use of the ship has allowed us to transport large volumes of relief goods into Beirut, which had previously been a major logistical problem due to damaged roads and lack of security guarantees on vehicles.” said Jerome Oberreit, operational director for MSF in Brussels. “MSF’s challenge now is to continue that transport on land from Beirut to the south of Lebanon, where the need is most acute.”
The Rainbow Warrior will shortly resume her tour of the Mediterranean to highlight the severe problems for the marine environment caused by unsustainable and illegal fishing and coastal development, and continuing Greenpeaces’ campaign demanding the setting up of marine reserves in the Mediterranean and elsewhere.
Medecins Sans Frontieres has around 50 international staff working in areas in Lebanon that are severely affected by the conflict. The emphasis in MSF’s activities is on supporting Lebanese health workers, setting up additional health posts and mobile clinics where necessary, and distributing basic materials (shelter, hygiene kits, cooking utensils, baby powder milk) to displaced families.