People are living in schools and warehouses in the absence of basic hygiene and sanitation conditions. Action Against Hunger continues to distribute drinking water and hygiene kits to 50,000 people in Sidon and will soon launch an emergency programme in the south of the country.
Around 70% of people taking refuge in Sidon have left the town to go back to their homes. However, many families were forced to return again due to the extremely heavy traffic in Tiro or because they found their homes completely destroyed. Other refugees have remained in Sidon out of fear that until a UN peacekeeping force is deployed in Southern Lebanon, the situation will remain dangerous.
Action Against Hunger's warehouse in Sidon continues to supply emergency aid (hygiene and sanitation material for adults and children, drinking water, blankets and mattresses) to 31 refugee centres, located predominantly in schools.
Yesterday, the Obaida family (three sisters, one of them a widow, and two young girls) arrived at one of the centres. "We have nowhere to go. Our village is located 7km from the Israeli border and has been destroyed. We rely on agriculture for a living but we have lost our harvest," says Faruz Obaida. Another 30 families are taking refuge in the same shelter.
For others, traffic congestion towards southern Lebanon means that it might take days to get there. In addition, it is impossible to return to Beirut via that same motorway as all lanes currently are being used to travel south.
According to Lebanese sources, 15,000 houses have been completely destroyed in the southern part of the country alone. Another 10,000 houses need to be reconstructed. 200,000 people are estimated to have been left without a home.
Action Against Hunger has launched a Middle East crisis appeal. Please call 08705 100 722 or visit www.aahuk.org if you would like to make a donation.
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Maria Antonia Sanchez Vallejo
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