01 août 2006

A CARE assessment team has arrived in Beirut, and will spend the next week-and-a-half assessing the impact of the humanitarian crisis in Lebanon as well as the best options for providing emergency relief. Megan Chisholm, leader of the 6-person team said: "As soon as we were in Lebanon we saw busses with people leaving the country as well as destroyed houses. We urge again for an immediate cease fire as well as for access to the most vulnerable people of this humanitarian catastrophe."

Lebanese authorities estimate that at least 841 Lebanese civilians have died in the conflict so far. More than 3,000 have been wounded, and more than 900,000 people have been displaced. Ongoing military operations have made it extremely difficult and dangerous to bring supplies to areas where civilians have gathered after fleeing the combat zones. Food and fuel prices have been rising dramatically because of difficulties in transporting supplies, and several supply convoys have been forced to turn back in recent days either because of the difficulty of getting clearance from military authorities or because of damage to roads. 

CARE has called on all sides in the conflict to agree to a cessation of hostilities and to guarantee the protection of innocent civilians, especially women and children. CARE is especially calling on all sides to create humanitarian corridors and guarantee safe passage of badly needed supplies so that civilians who have nothing to do with the fighting can receive food, medicine and safe drinking water. 

CARE is one of the world’s largest and most experienced non-governmental humanitarian relief and development organizations. Completely non-sectarian, CARE was formed to bring emergency relief supplies to Europe in the days immediately following World War II, and is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. Over the last several decades, CARE’s mission has evolved towards fighting poverty in the developing world, and providing emergency relief during humanitarian crises. 

For interviews with Megan Chisholm, CARE Emergency Coordinator in Lebanon or with Olivier Braunsteffer, CARE France Programme Director, member of CARE Emergency Team in Lebanon, please contact Thomas Schwarz, Media Coordinator: +962 - 77 671 56 42, tomasschwarz@web.de