WFP welcomes EC as largest donor to its operations in Lebanon

Published on 15 August 2006

WFP has welcomed a donation of US$3.8 million from the European Commission to ensure the delivery of vital assistance to nearly a million people displaced by conflict in Lebanon.

WFP has welcomed a donation of US$3.8 million from the European Commission to ensure the delivery of vital assistance to nearly a million people displaced by conflict in Lebanon.

The donation comes in addition to an earlier EC commitment to WFP of US$1.3 million for emergency food assistance.

We very much welcome this important contribution by the EC at this critical juncture as we spur our efforts to reach those caught up in this tragic war,

James Morris, WFP Executive Director

The EC contribution arrives at a crucial time. The UN Security Council resolution on Lebanon represents the best chance so far to end hostilities and allow desperately needed relief to reach those people who are living in dangerous and unsanitary conditions.

“Europe is doing all it can to make sure that humanitarian assistance reaches the beleaguered Lebanese people who, over the past month, have lost basic necessities such as food, clean water, medicines, hygiene and shelter,” said EC Commissioner Louis Michel during a three-day visit to Lebanon this week.

“It is essential that we reach each and every one of them without delay,” he added.

Welcome contribution

“We very much welcome this important contribution by the EC at this critical juncture as we spur our efforts to reach those caught up in this tragic war,” said James Morris, WFP Executive Director.

“The EC donation shows its strong commitment to humanitarian aid for the region,” he added. As the leading donor to WFP's operation in the occupied Palestinian territories, EC donations to date are at US$20.1 million.

“In supporting WFP’s inter-agency logistics operation for Lebanon, the European Commission is extending a lifeline to the suffering of Lebanon,” said Thomas Keusters, WFP Logistics Coordinator in Lebanon.

“Besides the trauma caused by the fighting, the weak and elderly are enduring serious hardship – they need our help urgently.”

Lead agency

As the lead agency of the logistics cluster, WFP has established supply routes into Lebanon by air, land and sea, providing free internal transport, storage and handling of humanitarian commodities for the United Nations and partner non-governmental organisations.

WFP has been working around the clock to cope with the huge logistical and security challenges in its operation in Lebanon.

The bombardment has damaged the main roads and destroyed 140 bridges, necessitating lengthy detours along minor roads or dirt tracks – which take up to five times longer.

Despite the immense difficulties, WFP has successfully brought in some aid to Beirut by air.

Aid transportation

A Portuguese Air Force C-130 Hercules flew four rotations for WFP from the UN Humanitarian Depot in Brindisi to Beirut airport in early August.

France provided the same service (C-160 Transal) for one rotation so far between Larnaca in Cyprus and Beirut.

Two ships arrived in Beirut port on Sunday with food and other supplies. The Kazim Genc sailed from the Turkish port of Mersin, carrying 2,750 metric tons of wheat flour, pasta and pulses.

A WFP-chartered vessel, the Anamcara, came from Larnaca with a cargo of WFP high energy biscuits and supplies for other UN agencies, including blankets for UNHCR, and for a large number of NGOs, including Caritas, MSF, Oxfam, Samaritan Purse and World Vision.

Major funding shortfall

WFP's appeal for US$39.5 million for logistics services and inter-agency security telecommunications is facing a major funding shortfall of US$24.9 million for which cash is urgently needed.

With the drastic deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Lebanon, WFP has recently revised its emergency operation to assist over 500,000 displaced people in Lebanon and 50,000 people in Syria.

As of now, EU member states and the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Department constitutes more than a quarter of the US$21 million required for WFP’s emergency operation in Lebanon and Syria.

Fast and effective response

The collaboration between the European Commission Humanitarian Aid department and WFP in Lebanon is an expression of a fast and effective humanitarian response.

The EC’s Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) makes substantial contributions to WFP operations throughout the world, primarily to alleviate the effects of emergency food crises and to support WFP Special Operations.

So far this year, the Commission has contributed a total of US$183.74 million.