July 31 2006
Lebanon: Help for refugee families also in the north
29/07/2006 - It is 16 days already since war has started; the casualties so far are 600 dead, 800 injured and more than 700,000 displaced. SOS Children's Villages Lebanon is providing emergency relief to displaced people by providing shelter and basic needs.
"I left my home in Baalbeck five days ago, we managed to reach Tripoli only yesterday," little Bilal says. His parents and five siblings have found shelter in a relative's house in one of the poorest areas in Tripoli in Lebanon. 15 children and five adults are sharing one room of no more than 16 square meters.
"Yesterday we, the children, had to sleep on the floor, while the adults managed to sleep on the available sofas… anything is better than that fear I used to feel before."
His eyes, however, expressed his sadness at losing his very small home in Baalbeck, the city of sun. "Only adults know the reasons behind this war", says Bilal on his way towards his new shelter.
On July 28, SOS Children's Villages Lebanon managed to distribute 60 mattresses to some 40 families displaced due to war. SOS co-workers in Lebanon distributed an additional 100 mattresses to the neediest families the following day. These relief efforts are part of SOS Children's Villages Lebanon's emergency relief programme in Northern Lebanon, based on a needs assessment undertaken by the SOS family strengthening programme in Lebanon.
Realising that existing relief programmes are only directed to families seeking shelter within public schools, SOS Children's Villages Lebanon has decided to intervene with the most disadvantaged families who are staying at relatives' houses in Northern Lebanon.
In the South, in the town of Jezzine, SOS Children's Villages Lebanon is still providing baby milk, food and nappies to families with children less than five years old.
The village director of the SOS Children's Village Kfarhay will assess the needs of displaced families within his area. A decision about the possibility and the kind of intervention will be taken accordingly.
As far as the SOS family is concerned, most children have been able to return to their facilities, together with their SOS mothers. Five children living in the SOS Children's Village in Ksarnaba did not yet get back to the village, while two SOS mothers have found a way to go back to the village after being unable to do so for almost twelve days.
Mr. Salman Dirani, director of the SOS Children's Village in Ksarnaba, is expected to return to Ksarnaba on Sunday morning, traveling through Syria. SOS Children's Villages Syria is providing support by facilitating his pick up at Damascus airport.