Report on the Lebanese Relief Program


24 October 2006

I. The Consequences of the July – August 2006 War

The July War between Israel and Hezbollah that began on 12 July and ended 14 August claimed more than 1,500 lives, displaced about 900,000 Lebanese and devastated South Lebanon, the Bekaa Valley and the southern suburbs of Beirut.

Due to the diversity of sources and errors that occurred in counting the victims, there are no exact figures concerning the number of killed, wounded and displaced. According to Lebanese security officials, 800 Lebanese were killed and 3,135 wounded.

Lebanon’s displaced families started to return to their villages on 15 August, immediately after the ceasefire. About 95 percent of the returnees are Muslim, while 40 to 90 percent of those still displaced are Christian. The effects of the war on Lebanon, which has been struggling with economic, political and sectarian issues for years, will be long-standing.

The war affected the following sectors of Lebanon’s economy and society: infrastructure, housing, agriculture, environment and business.

  • Infrastructure: Billions of dollars of damages were suffered as a result of Israeli air strikes and artillery fire. The attacks targeted bridges, roads, electricity cables, telephone lines, water pipes and the Beirut International Airport.
  • Housing: Thousands of homes were destroyed or damaged. The greatest destruction was seen in the southern, mainly Shiite, suburbs of Beirut, where about 200 buildings were demolished. Thousands of homes in South Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley also were destroyed. Christian neighbourhoods were rarely targeted, but suffered damage when Israeli soldiers searched them for Hezbollah fighters. The Lebanese government promised $40,000 to each family who had lost a home. Hezbollah has also provided $12,000 to each Muslim family who lost a home. But winter is approaching, and many families do not have adequate shelter or fuel for heating.
  • Agriculture: Trees and crops were burned, or left to rot. During the war, tending to many farms in Lebanon, particularly in the South and Bekaa Valley, was impossible. Moreover, unexploded cluster bombs still litter fields. Farmers have burned their fields in an effort to destroy the bombs.
  • Environment: When the Israelis bombed the Jiyeh power plant, oil spilled out into the sea, causing significant environmental damage. Water sources used for irrigation have also been contaminated. Israel also employed white phosphorous munitions, which create poisonous air pollution.
  • Business: The war brought Lebanon’s economy to a standstill. Israel imposed an air and naval blockade, prohibiting most goods and people from leaving or entering Lebanon. Manufacturing plants, factories, gas stations and other major businesses were hurt. Foreign workers also fled the country. Hundreds of employees were laid off and others saw their salaries reduced. The tourism sector, reliant on the summer season, also was hit hard.

II. CNEWA – Pontifical Mission Intervention

After the outbreak of war, CNEWA-Pontifical Mission immediately launched a relief program to support displaced families, both Christians and Muslims. CNEWA-Pontifical Mission coordinated its activities with other relief agencies, local officials and the Lebanese government’s High Relief Committee. Local churches played a key roll. For example, the Maronite Archbishopric of Antelias provided a warehouse for storing food, clothing and other relief supplies. (Father Simon Faddoul played a crucial role in this.)

During the war, CNEWA-Pontifical Mission contributed to relief efforts at displacement centers in Metn, Kesserwan and Jbeil. After the ceasefire, the agency sent field officers to South Lebanon’s Christian villages, an area it has been working in since the Israeli withdrawal of 2000. CNEWA-Pontifical Mission coordinated its activities with the Maronite Bishopric of Tyre and the two Greek Catholic Bishoprics of Tyre and Marjeyoun. Bishops Chucrallah El Hajj, George Bacaouni and Antoine Hayek from the Maronite and the two Greek Catholic Bishoprics, respectively, appointed Fathers Charbel Abdallah, Marius Khairallah and Samir Khoury to organize the aid work.

On 4 September, the Assembly of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops in Lebanon created a follow-up committee for relief work. The committee includes Bishops Roland Abou Jawde, Salim Ghazal, Chucrallah el Hajj and George Bacaouni and representatives from St. Vincent de Paul, the Middle East Council of Churches, Secretariat of Catholic schools, St. Joseph University, Caritas Lebanon, the Ministry of Social Affairs and CNEWA-Pontifical Mission.

The committee prepared a report on the damages to churches and church-related institutions, as well as to schools, homes, farms and businesses.

III. Implementation of Aid

CNEWA-Pontifical Mission received a total of US $267,211.85 for an emergency relief program from the following institutions: Missio Aachen, Missio München, the Archdiocese of Cologne, Kindermissionswerk, Church in Need, Kinderhilfe Bethlehem, Misereor, CNEWA and an anonymous source. The distribution of aid is outlined below:

Agency Amount in Euro Amount in US $
CNEWA (start up grant) 25,000.00
Anonymous 10,000.00 12,778.72
Missio Aachen 39,940.00 50,983.41
Kinderhilfe Bethlehem 25,000.00
Church in Need 40,000.00 51,200.00
Missio Munchen 19,956.00 25,543.68
Archdiocese of Cologne 20,000.00 25,600.00
Holy Childhood 19,975.00 25,508.08
Misereor 19,975.00 25,597.96
Total 267,211.85

Meanwhile, CNEWA-Pontifical Mission launched a fundraising campaign to cover the needs of the returning displaced. To date, $600,000 has been raised.

The initial program’s $267,211.85 has already been distributed as follows:

12 July – 14 August 2006

1) Initially, CNEWA-Pontifical Mission distributed supply packages of food and hygienic necessities to displaced families. In total, 2,150 boxes of food were distributed to families that fled to Metn, Kesserwan and Jbeil. Also, 1,950 boxes of detergent were distributed for washing needs.

2) Milk for children was in high demand. CNEWA-Pontifical Mission found suppliers and distributed the milk, coordinating with the Lebanese Red Cross. Altogether, 1,608 cans of milk and 1,885 packs of diapers were distributed.

3) CNEWA-Pontifical Mission also paid for the medical expenses of 40 of the displaced.

4) The agency purchased a 2,000-liter water tank and installed it in a Dbayeh school, where 58 families had sought refuge. The tank later will serve the children of the Dbayeh refugee camp.

5) The agency also purchased a 12.5 KVA generator for a medical dispensary in El Qaa, a Christian village near the Syrian border that was bombed during the war.

A breakdown of the distribution of aid can be found below:

Description Number of items Villages Beneficiaries Amount spent US $
Provision of food and hygiene kits 2150 boxes of food
1950 boxes of detergent
South Lebanon
Beirut suburbs
2150 families 92,697.00
Provision of health care Medical and hospitalization expenses All over Lebanon 40 needy persons 4,633.96
Provision of milk 1,608 cans South Lebanon
Beirut suburbs
1,608 children 12,168.00
Provision of diapers 1,885 packs South Lebanon
Beirut suburbs
1,885 children 4,720.00
Provision of water tank One (2,000 liters) Dbayeh 58 families 400.00
Provision of generator One (12,5 KVA) Qaa dispensary 2,000 families 3145.00
Total 117,763.96

Post-war relief
Following the ceasefire, CNEWA-Pontifical Mission has continued to assist those in need, coordinating with local church authorities.

1) CNEWA-Pontifical Mission has paid for medical assistance for 25 people affected by the war.

2) The agency purchased 306 water tanks for several South Lebanon villages, including Yaroun, Debel, Ain Ebel, Klayaa, Baraashite and Safad El Battikh.

3) The agency provided 300 hygiene kits to Christian families in Tyre.

4) The agency provided a 60 KVA generator and 4,000 litres of fuel for four public schools in Marjeyoun, which together serve 430 students. It also proved a 100 KVA generator to supply electricity to 80 war-damaged homes in Yaroun. CNEWA-Pontifical Mission also provided Ain Ebel and Yaroun with electrical cables and other accessories.

5) The agency rehabilitated Mar Maroun parish hall in Baissour.

6) The agency provided kitchen utensils to 50 families in Yaroun, Safad el Battikh and Baraashite.

7) The agency provided 672 cans of milk to 677 children in Rmeich, Deir El Ahmar, Fanar, Antelias and Beit Mery.

8) CNEWA-Pontifical Mission distributed 244 basic-needs packages, each containing a towel, 3 pairs of underwear and 3 pairs of socks, to children in Rmeich.

9) The agency provided furniture and kitchen supplies to the Notre Dame du Bon Service Novitiate in Ksara, which was damaged during the fighting. Additional furniture was provided to families in Btedy.

10) CNEWA-Pontifical Mission bought a ploughing machine for 60 families in Baraashite, who will use it to cultivate their melon and cereal crops.

11) The agency provided 10 computers and a central UPS for a high school in Klayya, run by Father Mansour Hokayem, which serves 118 Christian and Muslim students.

The following table illustrates the distribution of post-war aid:

Description Number of items Villages Beneficiaries Amount spent US $
Provision of health care medical and hospitalization expenses All over Lebanon 25 needy persons 6,036.73
Provision of water tanks 306 tanks Ain Ebel, Debel, Yaroun, Klayaa, Baraashite and Safad el Battikh 306 houses 20,925.00
Provision of hygiene kits and transportation 300 boxes Tyre 300 families 4,366.00
Provision of electrical cables and accessories Yaroun and Ain Ebel 530 families 38,814.00
Provision of generators 2 generators Marjeyoun and Yaroun 430 students in 4 public schools and 80 families 46,415.00
Rehabilitation of Mar Maroun center one center Baissour 150 families 1,450.00
Provision of kitchen sets 50 sets Yaroun, Safad el Battikh and Baraashite 50 families 3,182.11
Provision of milk 672 cans South Lebanon
Beirut suburbs
672 children 5,298.00
Provision of underwear, socks and towels 244 packs Rmeich 244 children 1,800.00
Provision of equipment and furniture Btedy village and Ksara novitiate 45 children and 12 novices 7,246.00
Purchase of a ploughing machine (1st payment) Baraashite 60 families 3,018.00
Provision of school equipment and repair of damages 10 computers Klayaa 118 students 10,897.00
Total 149,447.84

IV. Recommendations

There remains a need to help displaced Christian families who have returned to their villages but continue to face difficulties. A priority should be assisting those families whose homes have been damaged, but not destroyed, for these families are being underserved. CNEWA-Pontifical Mission and local church officials are preparing a survey of these damages and will soon begin rehabilitation work.

Also, religious structures should be rebuilt and repaired. The Maronite Bishopric of Tyre and the Catholic Bishoprics of Tyre and Marjeyoun have provided detailed lists of damages to churches and church-related institutions. The Order of Malta has contributed some repair work, but much more needs to be done. The needs detailed by CNEWA-Pontifical Mission are the same priorities as outlined by the bishops of the South.

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