According to what Zeina Allouche, director of SOS Children's Villages Lebanon, said yesterday, co-workers of the SOS Children's Village Sferai, located about 15 km east of the old harbour town of Saida, will start to help about 200 families who have sought refuge in neighbouring school buildings.
Currently, only the ministry of social affairs and Caritas are active in the region around Sferai. SOS Children's Villages will co-operate with these organisations to find out together about the kind of support families need there. As a first step, SOS Children's Villages will provide families with children below the age of 5 with milk and other important food for babies and small children. Zeina Allouche says that the relief effort may be extended to include other families should the tension not ease within a week.
Zeina Allouche is especially concerned with the situation around SOS Children's Village Ksarnaba situated about ten kilometres north of Zahle. The SOS Children's Village (which was only inaugurated this year) is located right in the middle of a fighting zone; all access roads have been destroyed. Due to the summer holidays, there are only ten children, four SOS mothers and a number of SOS co-workers in Ksarnaba at the moment.
There are sufficient supplies of basic foodstuffs and other important goods for the time being, which holds also true for the three other SOS Children's Villages in Sferai, Bhersaf and Kfarhay, where there are relatively few children at present due to the holidays. Given that the SOS Children's Villages are, however, considered safe havens, some returned during the past days, and relatives of SOS mothers also found temporary shelter at the SOS Children's Villages.
SOS Children's Villages' national office in Beirut will remain closed; the youth community Sin El Fil opposite the office also had to be evacuated, and the youths were accommodated in other SOS Youth Facilities.