Humanitarian Health Action

Lebanon humanitarian crisis

Between 12 July and 13 August 2006, the conflict across the border between Lebanon and Israel claimed over 1300 lives, injured more than 4000 people and displaced more than a quarter of the Lebanese population, of which more than 150 000 sought refuge into Syria. Most returned home immediately after the ceasefire, although movement was impeded by the large number of cluster bombs scattered across the southern areas. The impact on the health sector can be summarized as follows:

  • More than 900 000 people were displaced;
  • Basic public health functions were disrupted;
  • Health facilities were damaged;
  • Roads and bridges were damaged, limiting access to health facilities;
  • Provision of fuel, drugs, and medical supplies was disrupted.

WHO and other international agencies supported the country in its recovery efforts, providing assistance with food, medical supplies, water and non-food items and services where needed.

As the Health Cluster lead, WHO maintained the provision of priority medical and health interventions. 120 tons of chronic, acute and essential drugs as well as medical supplies and chlorine were distributed through the MOPH-WHO warehouse; 11 health centres were rehabilitated, and two vector control spraying campaigns were organized in the affected areas.

WHO established an Early Warning and Response System in the seven governorates. WHO participated in the measles and polio immunization campaign organized by the Ministry of Public Health; 20 900 and 8400 children respectively were vaccinated. WHO trained 450 and 120 health workers on reproductive and mental health in emergencies.

Health Cluster Bulletin

The Lebanon Crisis Health Cluster Bulletin gives an overview of the health activities conducted by all Health Cluster partners. It compiles health information received from the different organizations working in Beirut, South Lebanon, South Beirut and the Bekaa valley.

Situation reports

Between 16 July and 29 August 2006, WHO produced daily situation reports on the most recent events and figures available and on the activities of the health partners. These are available through the Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean.

Service Availability Assessment

According to the damage assessment conducted by the Ministry of Public Health and WHO at the end of August, 50 to 70% of health facilities were partially or completely destroyed in the regions most affected by the conflict. On 29 August 2006, a Service Availability Assessment conducted by the Ministry of Public Health and WHO to have a clear data about the magnitude of the damages and to support planning for early recovery and reconstruction of the health sector was released.

Media centre

Lebanon health facilities have suffered considerable damage

6 September 2006 -- A newly-published assessment of health facilities in Lebanon shows that a quarter of those examined are not functioning due to physical damage, lack of staff or lack of accessibility, and that water and fuel shortages remain a serious concern. At the same time, demands on the health system are growing given the numbers of people injured during the conflict, and people returning to their communities requiring health care.

WHO and partners assess health facilities across Lebanon

18 August 2006 -- As thousands of people in Lebanon return to their homes this week, the World Health Organization is working to assess the damage to health facilities and the impact of the crisis on the delivery of health services in the country. WHO stresses that access to health for all - including those who are still displaced within the country - is critical.

Appeal documents

UN Flash appeal

24 July 2006 -- The Flash Appeal for Lebanon sought a total of 150 million dollars to meet the needs of some 800 000 people over a three-month period.

Calls for resource mobilization

Child health

WHO's call for support for appropriate infant and young child feeding in the emergency, and caution about unnecessary use of milk products.

Relief operations

Joint statement

Ensuring Optimal Feeding of Infants & Young Children in Normal Situations & during the Crisis in Lebanon. A joint statement by MOPH, MOSA, WHO, UNICEF, WFP and UNFPA - August 2006

Crisis-specific guidance to partners

Public Health Information

Countries affected

More information