Press Releases

    IHA/1236
    7 September 2006

    Humanitarian Factsheet on Lebanon

    NEW YORK, 6 September (UN Headquarters) -- The following has been prepared by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA):

    Focus on Health

    -- One fourth of health facilities surveyed during a joint Government of Lebanon/World Health Organization (WHO) assessment are not functioning due to physical damage, lack of staff or lack of accessibility.  Water and fuel shortages also remain serious concerns.

    -- Twenty-six per cent of more than 400 health facilities assessed in the survey are not functioning, with a total of 12 buildings completely destroyed and 38 severely damaged, particularly in Bint Jbeil, Majayoun, Nabatiye and the southern suburbs of Beirut.

    -- Only one third of health facilities have clean drinking water, while only 1 in 4 are linked to the general sewage system or to a power supply.  Thirty-one per cent of facilities are using generators, but less than 1 in 5 has enough fuel to run them.

    -- Among serious gaps in health care, maternal and childcare services have suffered.  Just 1 in 4 primary health-care facilities can provide antenatal care; just 1 in 10 can support clean delivery and emergency obstetric care.  Only one third of health facilities are able to preserve vaccines, and just 13 per cent can provide mental health services.  Normally all of the surveyed facilities are able to provide all these services.

    -- There is also a shortage of health workers, including general practitioners, obstetric and surgical specialists, nurses, laboratory technicians, pharmacists, internists and anaesthesiologists.

    -- WHO has been working with the Ministry of Public Health and other partners to provide assistance, including safe drinking water, disinfection activities, health care, vaccines, and medicines since the beginning of the conflict.

    -- The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) also continues to provide hygiene and baby kits, medical assistance and medicines in southern Lebanon and the southern suburbs of Beirut.

    Humanitarian Activities

    -- The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is focusing activities on providing tents, blankets, mattresses and plastic sheeting to the most heavily damaged villages in southern Lebanon.  UNHCR is also providing non-food relief items to families who remain displaced in the area of Tyre.

    -- The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) yesterday distributed 100,000 litres of clean drinking water to five villages in southern Lebanon, and provided medical care for 227 people.

    -- WFP yesterday distributed nearly 450 metric tons of wheat, canned meat and vegetables and other food stuffs.

    High-Level Missions

    -- WFP Executive Director James Morris is expected to arrive in Beirut today on a two-day mission.

    -- Arriving tomorrow for a three-day mission are the United Nations Special Rapporteurs on the right to health, adequate housing and extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, as well as the Representative of the Secretary-General on the human rights of internally displaced people.

    Humanitarian Funding

    -- Ninety-two million three hundred thousand dollars have now been committed against the $96.5 million required under the revised Lebanon Flash Appeal, or 96 per cent.  An additional $13.4 million in pledges are also recorded.

    For further information, please call:  Kristen Knutson, OCHA-New York, tel.:  +1 917 367 9262; Elisabeth Byrs, OCHA-Geneva, tel.:  +41 22 917 2653, mobile: +41 79 473 4570.  OCHA press releases are available at http://ochaonline.un.org  or www.reliefweb.int .

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