Putting Our Work into Focus
A picture tells a thousand words - and UNHCR has more than 250,000 of them dating back decades. The agency's photo library in Geneva is guardian of the world's largest collection of refugee-related photos covering nearly all of the major displacements of the last 60 years. These images provide a comprehensive portrait of the lives of refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced people and the stateless in all corners of the globe, as well as the work of the thousands of UN staff who have helped them. Many of our best photos are showcased on this website and on the social networking site, Flickr. We offer the use of our photos free to the media.
Lebanese Stream Home After Ceasefire
Tens of thousands of displaced Lebanese have been streaming back to their homes from locations inside Lebanon and Syria since a ceasefire started on Monday. UNHCR teams monitoring the roads leading to the worst affected areas of Lebanon expect the huge numbers of returnees to continue in the coming days.
UNHCR teams have been monitoring the borders around the clock at the four border points from Syria and assisting returnees. They are distributing return packs of water, high-energy biscuits, wet towels and rehydration salts. They are also identifying vulnerable cases who require additional help. Convoys for refugees who are without transportation or who cannot afford transport home are being organized by the refugee agency.
Inside Lebanon, UNHCR teams have set up distribution points alongside roads to distribute assistance such as plastic sheeting, mattresses, water and other supplies to returnees. The full extent of the aid that will be needed will not be clear until a thorough assessment is carried out in the worst-affected areas.
Posted on 16 August 2006
Displaced Lebanese in Syria: Emergency Relief Supplies Arrive
A humanitarian convoy, loaded with emergency relief supplies from UNHCR's regional stockpile in Amman, Jordan, arrived in Damascus this week. Part of the shipment of mattresses, blankets, kitchen sets, soap and cooking stoves will be distributed to Lebanese refugees and asylum seekers in Syria while the rest will be trucked to Lebanon to help some 100,000 internally displaced living in community shelters and with host families.
In Syria this week, UNHCR distributed 6,544 mattresses, with the bulk going to Homs in the north, where we estimate 20,000 Lebanese are sheltering. UNHCR Syria has started distributing locally procured relief items including 3,300 pillows, bed linen, some 67,000 pieces of underwear and 6,400 diapers to host families and Lebanese in need.
Since the conflict began a month ago, some 160,000 Lebanese have fled across the border into Syria, with 1,500 now arriving daily. Most Lebanese are staying with Syrian host families or in schools, summer camps, community centres, mosques and hotels. While local generosity has been overwhelming, it is in danger of being overstretched.
Posted on 14 August 2006
Lebanon Crisis: UNHCR Gears Up
The UN refugee agency is gearing up for a multi-million-dollar operation in the Middle East aimed at assisting tens of thousands of people displaced by the current crisis in Lebanon.
Conditions for fleeing Lebanese seeking refuge in the mountain areas north of Beirut are precarious, with relief supplies needed urgently to cope with the growing number of displaced. More than 80,0000 people have fled to the Aley valley north of Beirut. Some 38,000 of them are living in schools.
In close collaboration with local authorities, UNHCR teams have been working in the mountain regions since early last week, assessing the situation and buying supplies, particularly mattresses, to help ease the strain on those living in public buildings.
Emergency in Timor-Leste pt.5: The Emergency Operation Reaches Out
In mid-June UNHCR extended its emergency relief operation in Timor-Leste to include tens of thousands of people who fled violence in the capital Dili for districts in the countryside. An estimated 79,000 displaced people are in outlying districts with some 72,000 displaced in Dili.
The UN refugee agency has delivered shelter materials and emergency supplies to easterners and westerners in Hera village, 25 kilometres to the east of Dili. Most of the inhabitants of Hera are westerners and have fled their homes and taken to the hills. A smaller group of easterners have moved to the safety of a fenced naval compound, where they have been joined by easterners who fled Dili. UNHCR has also delivered shelter materials to Metinaro, 40 minutes outside of Dili, as well as to Auturo Island.
Despite sporadic violence, UNHCR continues to help the displaced who say they are still too scared to return to their homes and will wait in temporary shelters until the crisis ends.
Refugees from Myanmar: Ethnic Karens Seek Shelter
Over 2,000 refugees from Myanmar have crossed the border into Thailand in recent months. Most claim to be fleeing renewed conflict and human rights abuses in Kayin state, Myanmar. The mainly ethnic Karen refugees say their houses and villages have been burned and civilians killed. Many were weak upon arrival, suffering from illnesses such as malaria, after a long, dangerous journey to the camps through heavily mined areas. The refugees have been arriving at government-run camps, mainly in the Mae Hong Son area in northern Thailand.
UNHCR is working with the Thai government and non-governmental organisations to ensure the new arrivals are admitted to the camps and provided with adequate shelter and protection. Shelter has been a major issue as the capacity in many refugee camps has been overwhelmed. In a breakthrough in mid-May, Thai authorities agreed to build proper houses for the new arrivals.
There are currently 140,000 refugees from Myanmar living in nine border camps in Thailand, many of them have been there for up to 20 years.