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LB_Amara_FrenchEmbassy_Nutrition_Elena Garcia Serra_1-min © Elena Garcia Serra

Press release


Impact of Gaza conflict leaves thousands displaced and food shortages

According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), more than 92,600 people have been displaced by violence in Lebanon as of mid-April. Despite having fled their homes, most of the IDPs remain in villages badly affected by a conflict that has already claimed 340 victims on Lebanese soil, according to the Ministry of Health. Among them, at least 70 were civilians, including 18 health workers and three journalists.

These attacks in residential border areas have caused significant damage to key civilian infrastructure such as farmland, transport, telecommunications and water supply. In addition to limiting access to basic services for the population, the impact of the conflict on key sectors of the country such as agriculture and livestock is quite significant. According to the FAO, at least 340,000 farm animals, 47,000 olive trees and 790 hectares of agricultural land were destroyed during the harvest season, resulting in losses of more than 70 per cent for Lebanese farmers and reducing the food available to the population. This, in turn, is accompanied by an increase in commodity prices, further limiting access in the south of the country, where some 185,000 people are experiencing inadequate or insufficient food intake.

“Although the intensification of hostilities has limited the provision of basic services and humanitarian response in the area, our teams have been able to distribute a significant amount of aid to the displaced, such as more than 90,000 hot meals and food, the distribution of nearly 220,000 litres of safe drinking water, nutrition activities focused on the health of young children and the delivery of thousands of basic items for people who have had to flee their homes, such as mattresses, blankets, pillows, cookers or solar lamps,” explains Natalia Anguera, head of Action Against Hunger’s Middle East programmes.

In addition, international humanitarian law prohibits the use of white phosphorus munitions, which threaten the lives of civilians, when fired at or near civilians, as these attacks are indiscriminate and therefore in contravention of international humanitarian law. White phosphorus also threatens the fertility of agricultural land, a particularly serious risk in a country where much of the population already relies on agriculture for subsistence or humanitarian aid for basic needs, while experiencing its worst economic crisis in decades.

Over the past few years, Lebanon has been going through its most manifold crisis, which is only exacerbated by the current conflict. The country, which has one of the highest refugee rates per capita, has been under an economic crisis since 2019, which was further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Beirut port explosion in 2020. At the same time, it is one of the countries hosting the most refugees per capita. Despite this number of challenges, humanitarian funding dedicated to Lebanon has been steadily decreasing.

In the southern regions alone, the destruction and disabling of homes, land and infrastructure has incurred more than a billion euros in losses, further worsening the socio-economic vulnerability of communities.

“In these difficult times, our joint efforts with the local NGO Ajdadouna have enabled us to provide sufficient hot meals for displaced people in conflict-affected areas, helping them with two meals a day on a regular basis. Positive feedback on the quality and quantity of the food demonstrates the importance of our assistance. In addition, our support to the children has been incredibly positive, providing them with high-energy biscuits, nappies and kits, reaffirming our commitment to making a significant difference to their lives,” says Celine Haddad, one of Action Against Hunger’s staff in southern Lebanon.

Action Against Hunger teams in Lebanon, Gaza and the wider region continue to strive to provide much-needed humanitarian aid, despite all the challenges. However, without a permanent ceasefire it will not be possible to scale up these activities to meet the needs of the population. Action Against Hunger calls on all parties for an immediate and permanent ceasefire and for the international community to increase its support and funding for this crisis to ensure the protection of both civilians and civilian infrastructure, and to enable a massive increase in the delivery of life-saving humanitarian aid.


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