Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is expanding its operations in Lebanon with the opening August 31 of a new national office in Beirut. The agency will focus on rebuilding with programs that pay off for future stability, like back-to-school programs and specialized psychosocial support for children or programs to help generate income, like cash for work.
When the war in Lebanon started, CRS brought in emergency aid experts to help local agencies set up centers for the hundreds of thousands who were fleeing bombed villages. Within days, CRS and Caritas Lebanon served nearly 100,000 people.
In addition to Caritas Lebanon, CRS also coordinates closely with the Development for People and Nature Association (DPNA) and Mouvement Social. CRS provides resources and training for local partners so the community takes ownership in rebuilding itself. For example, through the local partners, CRS provides supplies and tools for people to rebuild their homes.
As the country deals with reconstructing its infrastructure—roads, bridges, power plants, water and sewer operations—in addition to the destroyed and damaged homes and schools, ongoing emergency efforts persist. Almost all of the nearly one million people who left their villages have returned. But up to 40 percent cannot live in their homes because of destruction, damage, lack of electricity and water, or unexploded ground bombs. As a result, they are living with families and friends. CRS and local partners are still providing immediate assistance as they move toward long-term rebuilding: Mouvement Social is working with communities in Nabatyeh to refurbish schools. Caritas Lebanon and DPNA are distributing a month’s supply of food packets for 10,000 families in the Saida area and delivering a week’s supply of water for about 25,000 people in Marjeyoun along with more than 37,000 hygiene kits.