World Food Programme 18 July 2006
ROME — With tens of thousands of people fleeing the escalating conflict in Lebanon, WFP has sent an emergency team to conduct a preliminary needs assessment of the logistics infrastructure and particularly the feasibility of reaching the population in the affected areas.
The agency has already drafted contingency plans to draw on existing food stocks within the area as well as its emergency response depot in Brindisi, southern Italy.
Tens of thousands of displaced persons, including women and children, have abandoned their homes and taken shelter in temporary accommodation in schools and social institutions. Cut-off from the rest of their families, they may require food aid to survive the crisis.
The weakest and poorest, who have no-one to fall back on for support, may also need humanitarian assistance.
WFP’s assessment team will work quickly to determine whether or not displaced people are able to access food from markets or if local food supplies are adequate to meet the needs of vulnerable populations.
Reports indicate that currently there are sufficient food supplies, including wheat stocks as the primary basic staple, to cover national consumption for one to three months.
But there are growing concerns that the ongoing conflict is destroying the roads and bridges that form the backbone of the food supply chain in southern Lebanon - a region heavily reliant on imported wheat supplies.
Food imports from Syria, one of Lebanon’s main wheat suppliers, could also be subject to disruption.
Unconfirmed reports already suggest that food, fuel and transport prices are doubling, in some cases, tripling in the southern regions.