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UNFPA Humanitarian Response
to the Crisis in Lebanon

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Pregnant and Fleeing Destruction
For UN in Syria, Humanitarian Role is Now Added to Development
In Meeting Women's Needs, UN Hopes to Ease the Suffering of Lebanese

UPDATE, AUGUST 15 — UNFPA and its partners are responding to the needs of hundreds of thousands of people affected by the recent conflict in Lebanon. Despite the ceasefire, hundreds of thousands remain displaced, including tens of thousands who have returned to their homes and neighborhoods only to find that they have been destroyed or rendered uninhabitable. Even the lucky ones who find their homes relatively intact are returning to communities where health care and other essential services have been damaged or destroyed, livelihoods have been severely affected, and basic provisions are hard to obtain.

The devastation of civilian infrastructure, including hospitals and clinics, has greatly affected the ability of people to access urgent health care. Among the affected are tens of thousands of pregnant women. The sudden loss of medical support, compounded in many cases by trauma, malnutrition or anaemia, could put the lives of these women and their unborn babies at risk. 

Thanks to its long-standing presence in both countries, UNFPA offices in Lebanon and Syria were among the first to respond when the conflict broke out in mid-July. In collaboration with the Ministries of Health and local and international NGOs working in both countries, UNFPA response to date has included:

  • Supplying the Ministries of Health with emergency reproductive health supplies to help meet the immediate needs of hundreds of thousands of people, including tens of thousands of pregnant women, and equipment and medicines to help replenish damaged health facilities in Lebanon;
  • Local procurement and distribution of supplies for family hygiene kits including soap and shampoo, sanitary supplies, underwear, combs, toothbrushes and toothpaste, and laundry detergent;
  • Deployment of emergency health specialists to plan immediate and longer-term reproductive health assistance to those affected by the conflict;
  • Rapid health assessments for better targeting of assistance by all humanitarian partners;
  • Provision of a mobile clinic, furnished with a gynaecologist, ultrasound equipment, and essential drugs and supplies to help address the urgent reproductive health needs of thousands of women; and
  • Working with local partners to assess and respond to psychosocial needs and to ensure protection for displaced and returning women and adolescents.
  • Issuing small grants to women’s NGOs and other community-based organizations to address psychosocial needs, including counseling, service referral and other support to families and individuals struggling to cope with the effects of violence and destruction.

To meet the urgent needs of the displaced and returnees over the next three months, UNFPA has issued a $6.2 million Flash Appeal to donors. UNFPA will work together with key UN partners, the Red Cross and Red Crescent, and other local and international partners in Lebanon and Syria to:

  • Assist the Ministries of Health and other partners in improving access to basic health services for displaced and host communities;
  • Provide emergency reproductive health assistance – including delivery and emergency obstetric care for pregnant women and equipment to maintain a safe blood supply;
  • Ensure the protection and security of displaced women and adolescents; and
  • Safeguard the personal hygiene and dignity of displaced women and their families through the provision of essential hygiene supplies.
Related Links:
Assisting in Emergencies
Securing Supplies in Times of Crisis
Stepping up Efforts to Save Mothers' Lives