Aid agencies in Beirut call for the protection of civilians and access for aid

Published: 16 August 2006

Christian Aid, Islamic Relief, Oxfam International, Save the Children and World Vision

At a press conference this morning these agencies welcomed the cessation of hostilities, but urged all parties including the international community to uphold their responsibilities under international law to ensure the establishment of the permanent ceasefire, the protection of civilians and provide full access for humanitarian assistance to all people in need.

Speaking at the press conference the agencies said:

"The violence has ended but the needs are great. We are working on the ground with local partners and communities to provide food and hygiene supplies. We plan to provide assistance in providing safe and warm housing in time for winter, and support the recovery of the economy." Aref Khan Islamic Relief.

"Now that we have a ceasfire we must ensure that this isn't a paper exercise but rather a real ceasefire which will enable people to rebuild their lives. The human misery on the ground is immense as is the logistical challenge that we face to get aid into the worst affected areas because of the shortage of fuel and the destruction to roads and bridges across Lebanon." Shaista Aziz, Oxfam

"We welcome the cessation of hostilities but the psychological effects of this war on children are going to be long-lasting and must be addressed immediately. Children were severely affected by this conflict. Children in displaced centers exhibited signs of distress and trauma. A seven-year old boy living in a school refused to go to the bathroom until his mother went in first and confirmed that there was no plane inside. Getting children back in school and providing emotional and mental support to them is a first step in the healing process." Sonia Khush, Save the Children.

“People are desperate to return to their homes now that there is a cessation of hostilities. And even though many have packed their possessions into cars and are on the road home, everyone we have met have told us that they are afraid of what awaits them. Estimates suggest that up to 15,000 homes have been destroyed leaving 100,000 people homeless. Christian Aid are working with local organizations to continue to deliver relief to families in need, help people rebuild their houses and will be providing training and assistance to help them find work or re-establish their farms and businesses. They are also fearful that the delicate truce will collapse. It is vital that the international community does everything possible to ensure that the cessation holds and a permanent ceasefire is put in place to allow people to rebuild their lives and homes.” Janet Symes, Christian Aid.

Contact Information

For interviews or more information, please contact:
Shaista Aziz, in Beirut, on +96170 971364