WFP operational update: Lebanon

Published on 27 July 2006

WFP plans to increase people targeted with emergency food aid; the first UN relief convoy to leave Beirut since the start of the current crisis reaches Tyre.

Summary

WFP plans to increase people targeted with emergency food aid; the first UN relief convoy to leave Beirut since the start of the current crisis reaches Tyre.

Lebanese IDPs in need of food aid set to rise

With more than one fifth of Lebanon's 3.8 million population believed to have abandoned their homes to escape the conflict, WFP plans to increase the number of people targeted by its emergency operation.

The agency already plans to provide food aid for 310,000 Lebanese, including 50,000 who have fled across the border into Syria. In addition to food, there is growing concern about the availability of water.

Yesterday's UN relief convoy, which brought urgently needed relief supplies to the devastated port of Tyre in south Lebanon, passed thousands of displaced people on the road heading for safe havens.

According to one WFP staff member, the towns and villages that these people have abandoned resemble "ghost towns".

Relief convoys

The UN convoy to Tyre reached its final destination on Wednesday evening, bringing urgently needed supplies from WFP, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) to thousands of displaced people.

Six of the ten trucks were loaded with 90 metric tons of wheat flour supplied by the Lebanese government; the other four carried 30 metric tons of non-food items, including sufficient medical supplies to provide basic healthcare for 50,000 people for three months.

The commodities were handed over to the Lebanese municipality in Tyre and neighbouring municipalities for distribution.

WFP plans a second convoy on Friday to two different locations.

Logistics support

WFP's emergency team in Beirut is preparing guidelines for partner agencies on how to provide cargo to the humanitarian convoys in Lebanon: details of packaging etc ...

The agency has also contacted 27 partners to discuss the possibility of distributing food aid, including World Vision, Mercy Corp and other international non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

WFP is responsible for providing logistics support - trucking, warehousing and communications - to the UN relief operation in Lebanon.

The cost of WFP’s logistics special operation is over US$38 million – more than one quarter of the entire US$150 million flash appeal for Lebanon launched on Monday. In total, WFP is asking for US$48 million.

WFP plans to discharge up to 12,000 metric tons of food and non-food relief items per month and to provide a common UN trucking fleet to UN agencies, non-governmental organizations and international organizations.

WFP staff

To date, WFP has deployed 20 staff to Beirut in response to the escalating crisis. Support structures have been established in Damascus, Syria and Larnaca, Cyprus.