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The misery of Lebanon’s displaced caught in conflict

Salwa Sheet, a 50-year-old mother of four, struggles to find enough food for her family. Displaced from their home in Kafr Kila by the ongoing conflict with Israel, they now live in a cramped room in Nabatieh, southern Lebanon.

“We have nothing left after our homes were demolished and our work was disrupted. We are now forced to wait for donors’ aid, which is limited to grains and canned food,” Sheet told Xinhua while preparing home sweets for her children.

Sheet said the donors’ aid only covers about 30 percent of her family’s needs, forcing her to ration the food portions and even drinking water, depriving her children of healthy food.

“Our food is limited to rice, bulgur, pasta, beans, and chickpeas,” she said.

The war has caused immense hardship for those displaced from the border villages. Many live in crowded shelters or with relatives, facing shortages of food, water, and proper housing.

“We are a family of five members, and we live today in a 16-square-meter room in al-Zahrani while we used to live in a 350-square-meter house in Khiam, our hometown,” Jawad Abdallah, a 40-year-old man, told Xinhua.

The war has also devastated the livelihoods of many. Hassan Ghanem, displaced from Kfarchouba to Hasbaya, was forced to sell his livestock for a pittance and missed the olive harvest.

A government study published this week indicated that 75 schools have closed, 790 hectares of agricultural land have been damaged, and significant livestock and housing losses have occurred. The acting governor of Nabatieh, Howaida al-Turk, emphasized the need for comprehensive support for the displaced, including chronic medicines and agricultural aid.

She noted that lack of funding hindered the implementation of emergency plans to manage the crisis at all levels, from food to education and health.

Funding shortages are a major obstacle. Imran Riza, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Lebanon, said hot meals and mental health services provided to the displaced in the past three months cost around 24 million U.S. dollars. He stressed the urgent need for additional funding to support over 200,000 people for the next quarter.

Meanwhile, Nasser Yassin, the environment minister and head of the government’s crisis management committee, said that around 73 million U.S. dollars are needed to meet the basic needs of the displaced for the next three months.

“Amounts disbursed by local and international organizations have been insufficient in light of the prolonged crisis and the high demand for medical supplies,” he said.

Famagusta Gazette