mercredi 26 juillet 2006

Caritas Lebanon Migrants Center Relief Activities - Update 26/07/2006

Israel’s severe and swift retaliation to Lebanon targeting civilian infrastructure all around the country, especially in the South and Beirut then no later they moved to the Bekaa and some areas in the North and Mount Lebanon, Today celebrates its second week.

Their retaliation knows no limits or distinction. The Israeli set a goal “destroy Hezbollah” and no cease fire until this goal is achieved, regardless of the outcomes. The P.M Olmart said yesterday “we are not fighting the government, we are fighting Hezbollah”. In reality:

They destroyed three quarters of Lebanon infrastructure (buildings, bridges, roads, airports, ports, telecommunications stations)

Displaced more than 800,000 Lebanese living in difficult situation,

Killed to-date 401 civilians including Lebanese (adults and children), foreigners, migrants (so far and known 4 Indians and 2 Srilankans, people in the relief services such as the red cross and doctors and fireman, Lebanese military soldiers, and even UN soldiers).

Injured 1600 civilians in critical medical situation.

Blockaded the air, the roads, the sea, and cut off the links between all villages in the bombed areas.

Approximately 200,000 non-lebanese residents or tourists evacuated Lebanon either by land to Syria or by sea assisted by military boats from their relevant governments. Others are still waiting till this moment for their turn to be saved by their government.

Bombed and completely destroyed factories for diary products, plastics, wood…all that is related to basic nutrition products.

In return and according to the news, no direct targets to Hezbollah.

Lebanon is facing a major economic crisis. Prices have gradually increased despite the government efforts to control them. It’s a chaotic outbreak, thefts and robberies. 80% of the agriculture, industrial and trade sectors are affected. Famine and diseases are definite facts. Many people are trapped under fire. They cannot leave afraid to be targeted and hit by bombs while escaping and even if they wanted to roads are cut off in the first place and to cross they should walk on foot. Yesterday two families reached Beirut on foot coming from Tyr. It took them three days to get there and the few passing car did not give them a lift. Many families died or got injured while evacuating their villages hit by bombs. Families are split. People are lost under the wreckage. Supplies in the Deep South areas are exhausted and no possibility to replenish or assist residents and displaced people there.

Displaced people and those who have no relatives in so-called secure areas took refuge in gardens, public and private schools, churches, convents, mosques, incomplete buildings, storage places, streets, cars. To survive, they depend on the assistance of humanitarian organizations or humanitarian and politic groups, the UN, the Red Cross, the community they are placed within. Routes taken: from South to other villages in the south, to Beirut, to Mount Lebanon, to Bekaa, to the North; From Beirut to Mount Lebanon, to Bekaa and north; from Bekaa to North; and from north to Bekaa. Some said we escaped Beirut to Bekaa but the bombing followed us here to, we don’t know where to go elsewhere.

Caritas took immediately action and declared Emergency Response for Lebanese and foreigners, since the beginning of this tragic war. While Caritas Lebanon directed its activities and assistance to Lebanese, the migrant center took charge of assisting as usual migrants and refugees. Along with Lebanese, the lives of many migrants and refugees were threatened by the merciless daily non-stop israeli attacks. The majority of Iraqi refugees live in (Southern Suburbs of Beirut). Migrants are spread all over the country.

Emergency Intervention:

Assisting foreign detainees:

1. Fearing for their safety, more than 500 detained migrants were released from the Detention Center, Roumieh and Zahle, Tripoly and Tyr prisons and sent by the General Security to Caritas shelters.
2. 100 detained migrants were repatriated via Syria, others are awaiting their turn
3. While they await, a team of Caritas Migrant Center is living with them in the shelters supervising and providing for their needs on daily basis and helping them psychologically to survive the situation.
4. Around 100 detainees will be released soon, once Caritas has prepared a new shelter for them as the existing ones are fully booked.

Assisting Iraqi refugees:

1. Around 2000 iraqis living in bombed areas of Beirut approached out the Center for assistance. They required basic needs, nutrition, humanitarian and hygienic supplies (shelter, diapers, medications…).
2. UNHCR also referred to us around 100 persons.
3. Around 50 families counting each between 7 to 10 members in the family were transferred to Caritas shelters.
4. More than 2500 were assisted with humanitarian aid.
5. Each day we receive an average of 60 persons.

Assisting migrant workers (regular & irregular):

Since the expansion of the Israeli attacks, many migrants and refugees living in Beirut and in other targeted areas reached out to their Embassies for help and to Caritas Migrant Center for assistance. Due to this, Caritas Migrant Center are collaborating with the General Security, the Srilankan, the Ethiopian and the Philippines Embassies to evacuate some of their expatriates and in first place the extremely vulnerable cases.
1. Caritas is providing them with shelters and basic needs.
2. Ensuring buses to transport them to Syria and negotiating with airways to provide airway tickets from Syria to country of origin.
3. Negotiating and completing the administrative procedures with the General Security to facilitate their travel.
4. Caritas team is accompanying every group to Syria.
5. Contacted associates in Syria and country of origin to receive repatriated groups.

So far 226 left Lebanon to Syria and then to Srilanka. Another group left already today counting 800 Srilankans, 300 Ethiopians. Tomorrow 300 will leaving.

There are 5000 Srilankans awaiting repatriation, 1000 Ethiopians and 1000 Philippines and 500 Sudanese.


There are currently 8 Shelters and Houses run by the Migrant Center, and receiving Migrants from all nationalities located in Dora, Metn and Keserwan.

Till date, round 4000 individuals have been served in various Shelters, Houses as well as at the Migrant Center itself.

Assistance provided consisted of shelter, bedding needs, nutrition (food & water), hygienic supplies, cooking and utensils supplies, clothes, medical, psychological and moral support, legal, repatriation.

Within this dramatic and unbearable disaster, we await either peace or decease. And analyzing the political course of facts, with field of action whether military and political efforts to stop this war before it burst into a regional one, we are more close to a death destiny than peace.