WFP operational update: UN convoys reach eastern Lebanon

UN convoys reach eastern Lebanon for first time; Al-Arida-Beirut humanitarian corridor reopens; food distributed in Beirut; Portuguese Air Force airlift from UN Humanitarian Depot to Beirut continues.

Summary

UN convoys reach eastern Lebanon for first time; Al Arida-Beirut humanitarian corridor reopens; food distributed in Beirut; Portuguese airlift continues.

Humanitarian convoys: latest

For the first time since the start of the ongoing crisis, humanitarian convoys reached internally displaced persons sheltering in eastern Lebanon on Sunday, delivering vital supplies to Zahle and surrounding villages.

Four trucks have safely arrived in the area, providing enough assistance for an estimated 10,000 IDPs who have fled the south.

Two vehicles were loaded with UNICEF medical supplies and diapers, one with medical kits plus NPA food and milk powder, another with UNDP sanitary goods.

WFP dispatched another 15-truck convoy to the southern port of Tyre.

This included: one truck packed with WFP wheat flour, three carrying UNICEF water and waterkits, medical supplies and sanitary materials, two loaded with Lebanese Higher Relief Committee food, one with UNHCR shelter materials and eight for UNRWA, destined for Palestinian camps in Rashidiyeh.

Al Arida-Beirut corridor update

Following bomb damage to the northern highway connecting the Syrian border town of Al Arida to Beirut, UN convoys have started using Lebanon's main supply route again.

After a rapid survey of damage along the corridor, WFP dispatched two convoys packed with relief supplies - one of six trucks and another of 21 vehicles.

However, with convoys forced to leave the main highway in several places and follow the old coastal route, traffic congestion has tripled the journey time from two to six hours.

The so-called Lebanon lifeline stretching from WFP's humanitarian hub in Al Arida to Beirut is essential to the UN's ability to deliver goods and emergency personnel through Syria.

Beirut food distribution

On Saturday, WFP food aid was distributed at various sites in Beirut.

National non-governmental organisations and the local commuity, supported by the Lebanese Government, handed out wheat flour, vegetable oil, high energy biscuits and canned meat to over 8,000 IDPs living in schools and other institutions. The supplies are expected to last two weeks.

Distribution was hampered by the large supply trucks' inability to maneouvre around Beirut's narrow streets. WFP is trying to secure pick-ups for planned future distributions inside the Lebanese capital.

Brindisi airlift

The third of four humanitarian airlifts by a Portuguese Air Force Hercules C-130 landed in Beirut on Sunday, carrying WFP high energy biscuits.

Flying out of the UN Humanitarian Depot in Brindisi, Italy, the airlift -- made possible by the Government of Portugal -- will deliver a total of 42 metric tons of high energy biscuits.