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Lebanon: UNHCR pleased by donor support at yesterday's conference in Sweden

Briefing notes

Lebanon: UNHCR pleased by donor support at yesterday's conference in Sweden

1 September 2006

UNHCR was pleased by the strong support shown for the government of Lebanon by donors attending yesterday's conference in Sweden. This will allow the start of rebuilding and the continued distribution of emergency assistance.

In the case of UNHCR, convoys carrying essential aid to the villages of southern Lebanon are continuing on a daily basis. By yesterday (Thursday) morning, UNHCR had distributed 77,000 blankets, 29,400 mattresses, 17,300 plastic sheets and nearly 5,700 tents. Distribution is carried out in villages through local officials and with the help of a non-political network of NGOs and volunteers. These items are being distributed as part of the first phase of UNHCR assistance. This initial assistance is expected to cost nearly $19 million ($18,853,230). A second phase of UNHCR assistance, which will include repair kits for thousands of houses and other shelter needs, is expected to cost more than $28 million ($28,423,177).

A UNHCR engineer is continuing his assessments in the south to identify specific needs for shelter during this transitional phase. Despite the large number of homes that will have to be totally rebuilt in coming months, many will be able to be repaired with kits that UNHCR is now assembling.

In addition to these needs, UNHCR teams are in the field daily, reaching out to the communities and in particular the most vulnerable, and helping with other problems that are becoming increasingly apparent. The deaths and destruction of homes and infrastructure have left their mark on the people - in particular the children. A particularly serious problem is the widespread presence of unexploded ordnance, an ever-present danger that is disrupting a return to normality for thousands of people. We now have a formal agreement with the UN Mine Action service to clear these explosives as quickly as possible.