LEBANON - July 26 -
Alarming reports about the health, water and nutrition situation in villages in the far south of Lebanon
As a result of the ICRC's trips to a number of villages in the far South of Lebanon over the past three days, a clearer picture is emerging of the situation and needs of civilians in the far south of Lebanon, where military operations have been taking place for almost two weeks.
South of Marjayoun, the ICRC has visited villages along the border with Israel, including Bent Jbeil, Aitaroun, Kfar Kila, Houla, Meiss el Jebel, Blida and Rmeish. It has also visited villages in the Tyre area, including Tibnine, Qana, Bazouriye, Jouaya, Silaa, Srifa, Maaroub, Deir Qanoun en Nahr and Aabbassiye.
The health, water and nutrition situation in these villages is alarming. Both water quality and access to water are crucial issues. Water is scarce, as tanker trucks are no longer supplying some of the villages. Moreover, water pumps are not working for lack of electricity and fuel. Food supplies are running low and basic medicines are needed, in particular for the treatment of chronic diseases.
It is very difficult to determine the exact number of people still remaining in these villages or of those who have been displaced from other areas and have sought refuge there. For all of them, safety is the main concern. In several villages, people have been hiding since the beginning of the military operations. Displaced people are sheltered in schools and patients are stranded in hospitals, waiting to be evacuated.
According to one of the delegates who was in Blida, a village a few kilometres away from Bent Jbeil, about 700 people, among them 300 children, had taken shelter in a mosque. In other isolated villages, the streets remained empty. As people were afraid to go out, fearing bombardments, dead bodies had not been removed from the streets and others were still buried under rubble.
An ICRC team that left for Rmeish on 25 July in order to distribute aid was unable to reach the village, located just a few kilometres from the border with Israel, owing to military operations in the area.
Today the ICRC was unable to travel in the area south of Tyre because of ongoing military operations. An ICRC team is on stand-by to return to the villages and distribute aid there as soon as the situation allows.
ICRC aid continues to reach Tyre
Two ICRC trucks reached Tyre this afternoon with enough food supplies to last 480 families one week. The food will be distributed in priority areas in the south over the coming days.
Red Cross / Red Crescent action
The Syrian Arab Red Crescent is working together with the ICRC in Syria, where it has managed to shorten administrative and other procedures for ICRC aid convoys passing through the country from Amman to Beirut.
Magen David Adom action in Israel
Since 12 July, according to reports issued by the Magen David Adom, MDA staff and volunteers have been called to the scene of 461 incidents, where they treated and/or evacuated 895 casualties (34 fatalities, 19 severely injured, 38 moderately injured and 259 lightly injured people and 545 people suffering from anxiety attacks).